Verizon claims first in completing 5G radio specification

True to form, Verizon (NYSE: VZ) announced today the completion of its 5G radio specification, saying it's the first U.S. carrier to do so.

The specification is the result of collaboration within Verizon's 5G Technology Forum, a group it formed last year that now includes Cisco, Ericsson (NASDAQ: ERIC), Intel, LG, Nokia (NYSE:NOK), Samsung and Qualcomm Technologies (NASDAQ:QCOM). Similar to how it led with LTE, Verizon said it wants to be the first U.S. company to roll out 5G services.

The specification provided guidelines to test and validate crucial 5G technical components, according to Verizon. Development of the spec allows industry partners, such as chipset vendors, network vendors and mobile operators, to develop interoperable solutions and contribute to pre-standard testing and fabrication.

"The completion of the 5G radio specification is a key milestone toward the development of a complete 5G specification," said Adam Koeppe, vice president of Network Technology Planning, who is leading the 5G trial efforts, in a press release. "The level of collaboration that we are seeing exceeds what we saw during 4G. This agile way of developing the specification and working with the ecosystem will enable us to get to market rapidly."

Another trigger likely to help it get to market faster is the FCC's Spectrum Frontiers proposal to make an additional 17.7 GHz of millimeter wave spectrum available – the full commission will consider the proposal at its meeting this Thursday.

Craig Silliman, Verizon EVP of public policy and general counsel, and Charla Rath, VP of wireless policy development, met with commissioners last week to thank them for their vision and the speed with which they plan to adopt rules for the millimeter wave bands. They also lobbied for a few key items that Verizon still wants to see in the proceeding, like keeping satellites designated with a secondary status and steering clear of any onerous spectrum limits.

While the standards around 5G are still being developed, operators like Verizon said they have a pretty good idea of the general concepts, but they risk going down a path that ultimately isn't in the standards. The company has been conducting pre-commercial 5G tests at multiple locations, including New Jersey, Massachusetts and Texas.

During its testing process, Verizon said it has validated numerous 5G technology enablers, such as wide bandwidth operation of several hundred MHz in size, multiple antenna array processing and carrier aggregation capabilities that are substantially different from 4G.

Tests included throughput analysis with customer premise equipment at various locations inside the home to facilitate the study of line-of-sight and non-line-of-sight performance and propagation modeling using barriers such as structures and foliage, all based on real-world fixed wireless applications.

Interestingly, Verizon is working with KT Corporation, the official sponsor of the 2018 PyeongChang Olympics, on a harmonized 5G specification. The two companies signed an MOU last month to support their mutual interest in collaborating on future mobile and broadband technologies, including 5G, SND/NFV and GiGA technologies.

While Verizon has been aggressive in its pursuit of 5G, rival AT&T (NYSE: T) isn't sitting idle. Company executives have said they're doing a lot of work themselves in AT&T's labs, and the company expects to have pre-standards gear in some field tests by the end of 2017.

Last month, Sprint (NYSE: S) claimed a first, demonstrating 5G at a large scale public event, the 2016 Copa América Centenario soccer tournament in Santa Clara, California. Nokia was part of that demo, while Ericsson participated in the demo Sprint did at a Copa game in Philadelphia.

For more: 
- find specification documents here

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