In-depth: State of 5G for the big four carriers

wireless networks

WASHINGTON…  Next-generation “5G” mobile networks remain years away from standardization, but the lack of formal definitions and speculation hasn’t deterred major international interest and investment.

In the U.S., the four major carriers Verizon Wireless, AT&T Mobility, T-Mobile US and Sprint have to some extent outlined strategies and expectations around 5G. The broad consensus is that 5G will need to provide super-fast throughput across multiple types of access networks including support for Wi-Fi, LTE-Unlicensed and more.

However, the carriers are far apart on agreeing when and how 5G will become a reality. Heres an in-depth look at the state of 5G for the 4 big carriers.

Verizon Wirelessis the company most enthusiastically moving toward 5G. Verizon has described 5G as enabling 50 times the network throughput of current LTE networks, latency in the single-digit millisecond range,and the ability to support increased network demand from a growing number of connected devices and the “Internet of Things.” Verizon Wireless plans to begin trialing 5G systems next year with some level of commercialization in 2017.

Roger Gurnani, EVP and chief information and technology architect for Verizon Wireless, said 5G is no longer a dream of the distant future.

“We feel a tremendous sense of urgency to push forward on 5G and mobilize the ecosystem by collaborating with industry leaders and developers to usher in a new generation of innovation,” Gurani said.

Verizon has also emphasized the importance of video streaming and is focused onmaintaining a network that can handle its customers binge watching an entire season of their favorite shows inhigh definitionwithout excessive lag. Gurnani painted a bright picture for Verizon Wireless’5G endeavors: “The future is going to bring more stuff that I can’t really describe. We can’t possibly envision the full range of disruptive products and services. But we have some possibilities.”

AT&T Mobility jumped head-first into development of IoT, LTE-U and video streaming, but has taken a cautious approach to 5G and has largely been dismissive of Verizon Wireless’bold promises.

During the recent CTIA Super Mobility trade show, AT&T Mobility CEO Glenn Lurie said, Were not at a point to be making promises or commitments to customers as to what 5G is. We, as an industry, have been really good at overpromising and under delivering when it comes to new technology.

AT&T Mobility seems to be waiting on standardization bodies to agree on what exactly 5G is prior to committing to timetables…

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