In what may be an attempt to set the company apart from its rivals, its acting CTO said Verizon would call its forthcoming 5G network “5G Ultra Wideband.”
“There’s 5G, then there’s Verizon 5G Ultra Wideband,” wrote Verizon’s Kyle Malady in a post on the company’s website, outlining Verizon’s pending launch of 5G network technology.
Malady argued that Verizon is the only wireless network operator that commands three key elements for 5G: millimeter wave spectrum, fiber and small cells. “The truth is, 5G is only as good as the network it runs on and Verizon is the only company that brings all three pieces together for its customers through our 5G Ultra Wideband solutions,” he wrote.
Verizon, of course, has made clear its efforts to build out small cells in locations across the country. Although the operator has never put a figure on its small-cell rollout, most observers in the industry believe Verizon is an early mover in the small-cell market.
Separately, Verizon too has been working to deploy additional lines of fiber in areas around the nation; indeed, during its recent quarterly conference call, company executives said that it has deployed fiber in 50 markets outside of its existing ILEC footprint.
And Verizon also made an early bet on millimeter-wave spectrum, purchasing Straight Path and XO in large part to obtain their mmWave spectrum holdings.
“The point here is a company can't just decide they want to offer 5G and be ready in a few months. It takes years of deliberate planning, testing, and innovation,” Maladay wrote. “We believe our 5G Ultra Wideband network is the only network with the power to usher in the fourth industrial revolution.”
However, Verizon’s executives aren’t yet providing details on exactly how the company will sell its “5G Ultra Wideband” service. In a lengthy Q&A with the Wall Street Journal, Verizon CEO Hans Vestberg declined to say whether the operator would offer unlimited data services over 5G. “We haven’t gotten that far. We aren’t sharing our commercial plans from a confidential point of view,” he said.
Vestberg did say though that Verizon would continue to invest in its network and that he believes the United States is beating China in the race to deploy 5G services. “We’ve already announced that we are rolling out 5G in four cities this year. I haven’t heard that it will be rolled out in any cities in China this year,” he said.
Separately, Verizon also said that, following the construction of its 4G LTE Innovation Centers and its first 5G incubator in New York City, the company will build new 5G Labs in Washington, D.C.; Palo Alto, California; Waltham, Massachusetts; and Los Angeles.
Verizon’s move to brand its forthcoming 5G network aligns with the carrier’s previous branding moves for its wireless network. In 2014, the nation’s largest carrier began using “XLTE” to refer to its LTE network running on AWS spectrum. And like each of its major rivals, Verizon has pursued “LTE Advanced,” an actual standard that is otherwise known as 3GPP Release 10 and began to come to market in the United States a few years ago.
AT&T, for its part, has already moved to stamp out an early lead in the 5G branding arena by giving its LTE Advanced markets the "5G Evolution" branding.