Verizon (NYSE: VZ) CEO Lowell McAdam said that the carrier expects to be able to offer 5G wireless speeds up to 1 Gbps, and that he expects the carrier to begin a commercial test of the technology as early as next month at the carrier's Basking Ridge, N.J., headquarters.
"I showed my board the [5G] service in November, and you don't ever go to a board with something that's not real," McAdam said at a Business Insider event. "So we'll be piloting it more broadly in San Francisco, we'll be there, we'll have it in New York, we'll have it in Boston, technology pilots with our partners, early next year. I expect to have our Basking Ridge campus up in January. And then rolling it out more commercially later in the year and then commercially more in 2017 and beyond."
McAdam boasted that the carrier's forthcoming 5G network would support speeds 200 times faster than the 5 Mbps generally available today on Verizon's LTE network.
"What 5G is, is much more designed for video, we call it more use-case defined. It will be more point-to-point solutions. And you will be able to do up to 1 gigabit of service over that technology," he said, noting those speeds will help Verizon provide more video services directly into customers' homes without having to run fiber into the locations. He added that 70 percent of the carrier's wireless traffic is currently video, and that traffic on the company's wireless network has grown 75 percent each year.
"No one sees that slowing down," he said. "5G will really change the game, and I think will be another spike of growth in the wireless industry."
However, when questioned how much 5G service would cost, McAdam declined to provide a specific figure, saying only that "We're going to have to see how the models evolve." He added: "I think your bills are not going to be a lot lower than they are today, at least I hope that."
Verizon in September said it 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 carrier said at the time that its 5G technology field trials would begin in 2016.
Verizon executives have also said that the company has met with operators in Japan and South Korea to discuss network technologies, including 5G. That doesn't come as a surprise since Asian operators are expected to use the upcoming Olympics event to showcase their own network technology advancements. Specifically, Korean mobile operator KT has said it's aiming to launch a live 5G service for the 2018 Winter Olympic Games being hosted in the city of Pyeongchang, and Japan's NTT DoCoMo is gearing up to showcase the technology at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
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