Verizon, Samsung tee up new 5G fixed, mobile trials

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Verizon has stressed the importance of having millimeter wave spectrum as part of its 5G strategy. (FierceWireless)

Verizon is asking the FCC for Special Temporary Authority (STA) to conduct periodic testing over a six-month period with Samsung using 28 GHz spectrum and unlicensed spectrum.

The purpose of the trial is to evaluate the performance of the technology in a mobile and fixed environment, according to the application material.

The trial as proposed would consist of sites that will cover areas where Verizon holds a Part 30 Upper Microwave Flexible Use Service (UMFUS) license. Data supplied to the device will be using Part 30 millimeter wave licenses, which will be used by the devices to supply internet connectivity through Wi-Fi at 2.4 and 5 GHz.

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The application requests a start date of Dec. 31, effective through June 30, 2019. Samsung would contribute 180 devices in the effort. Samsung submitted separate paperwork for the trial.

RELATED: Verizon, Samsung promise 5G smartphone for next year

The FCC earlier this year announced that incumbent licenses and leases in the 28 GHz band had been converted to the UMFUS in the Universal Licensing System. The commission previously had determined that UMFUS in the 28 GHz band would be licensed on a county basis and that existing LMDS licenses in that band would be subdivided from Basic Trading Areas (BTAs) into counties. The commission also granted mobile operating rights to existing active LMDS and 39 GHz incumbent licensees.

Verizon acquired its plethora of 28 GHz licenses through the acquisition of Straight Path Communications earlier this year. That acquisition transferred Straight Path’s extensive portfolio of 28 and 39 GHz licenses to Verizon, which is harnessing that spectrum as part of its 5G strategy. It’s the big reason the 28 GHz auction wasn’t expected to blow the roof off in terms of generating revenue; most of the markets to be had are smaller and there aren’t very many of them compared to what will come in the 24 GHz auction, which follows the 28 GHz event.

RELATED: Samsung VP pleased millimeter wave working better than expected in Verizon trials

Trials like the latest one Verizon is proposing with Samsung will no doubt give it more know-how in the millimeter and Wi-Fi space, but it’s also touting how being first with a commercial fixed 5G offering is giving it insights that others don’t have.

“We are just at the beginning of it,” CEO Hans Vestberg said at an investor conference last week, noting that Verizon already has learned a lot and it’s cutting the lead times for installations in the home quite dramatically. “Things like that you learn constantly when you’re out with customers every day,” such as where to place antennas. “We’re encouraged by what we’re seeing.”

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