Verizon is working with partners Alcatel-Lucent, Ericsson, Cisco, Nokia, Qualcomm and Samsung to test 5G in the company's innovation centers in Waltham, Mass., and San Francisco. The technology field trials are expected to begin in 2016.
This is the first time a U.S. operator has announced its intent to trial 5G technology. Many Asian operators and even some European operators have talked of plans to trial 5G. Commercial deployment of 5G is not expected to occur until at least 2020.
Verizon said that these 5G trials, or "sandboxes" will be conducted in the Verizon Innovation Centers as a way to foster collaboration and help develop compelling applications.
Verizon and its partners committed to the 5G trials last month during Verizon's Inaugural 5G Technology Forum and have established teams to ensure that the pace of innovation is aggressive. "We feel a tremendous sense of urgency to push forward on 5G," said Roger Gurnani, EVP and chief information and technology architect at Verizon in a prepared statement.
Besides the operator's vendor partners, the Technology Forum also includes venture capital groups that are focused on emerging technologies. According to Gurnani, the group represents more than $50 billion in annual research, development, technology investments and thousands of patents.
Rima Qureshi, chief strategy officer at Ericsson, noted that the Verizon-led effort is geared toward accelerating 5G innovation, which so far has primarily come from Asian operators. "It's exciting to see a U.S. company accelerate the rate of innovation and introduce new partners," Qureshi said.
5G technology, although not standardized yet, is expected to offer 50 times the throughput of LTE, have a latency in the single milliseconds and be able to accommodate the anticipated explosion in Internet-connected devices.
Huawei has said it will demonstrate 5G in 2018 with Russian operator MegaFon in conjunction with the FIFA World Cup. In addition, the city of Oulu, Finland, has launched a 5G test network that it said will operate as a public test environment.
Also, Ericsson partnered with Japanese operator SoftBank to conduct 5G field trials in Tokyo, and the Swedish vendor also said it would work with Turkish operator Turkcell on 5G research and development.
Additionally, ZTE teamed with Korean operator KT to launch a 5G test bed in Seoul.
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