Verizon mapsExcept for a very few people in small parts of 4 cities (map at left and at PC Mag,)Mag,) Verizon will not sell you 5G until they get NR certified equipment. They are looking to Motorola and Samsung, who are both six months and more away from volume production.

After spending untold millions to be "first," Verizon has stopped opening 5G sites to customers. Hans Vestberg decided to wait until he could get 3GPP approved NR routers rather than those custom-built to Verizon's early standard. 

On the financial call, Vestberg said

"When it comes to the 5G Home, we are so acknowledged, fully deployed in the 4 cities that we decided for. So what we're waiting for right now is the CP equipment for 5G Home. And as the industry is evolving, the first focus for the industry is actually to reduce chipset for smartphones. And then secondary, the next generation of chipsets comes on the CP side."

Hans' comment didn't rule out the possibility that Verizon would continue connecting customers with the Inseego CPE. However, Kevin King confirmed Sagan's story "Verizon can't expand its 5G Home coverage area until it can get hold of [5G NR routers.]" Expected vendors Samsung and Motorola are unable to deliver routers until the chips are ready. 

Meanwhile, Verizon is building the most advanced network in the world. Almost all other carriers will be running 5G in low and mid-band. The millimetre wave Verizon is using is roughly 3 times as fast.

Some Verizon customers are getting around a gigabit although the company is only using 400 MHz of its 800 MHz spectrum. A Deutsche Telekom mid-band network in Warsaw runs at 350-500 megabits, lightly loaded.

 Apparently, Verizon continues installing base stations across the country, using Samsung and Ericsson radios. They expect updated radios 5G capable radios in almost the entire country. in the next two years, probably running NR software in lower bands.

NR adds little to performance below 2.5 GHz. It still doesn't support LAA and I believe has problems in using multiple 4G carriers. In other words, the "5G" T-Mobile and Verizon are touting will be slower than good 4G, except for Verizon millimetre wave. Here in Manhattan, T-Mobile has a 4G LTE/LAA cell delivering 500 megabits if you have the right phone. 

Upgrading the backbone can do more for latency than 5G

I've recently discovered that the latency of the radios for the last 200 metres (the 5G NR) often is less important than the performance on the backbone. From the radio to the Internet typically takes 15 ms to 50 ms and more. 5G to the radio is now typically 10 ms, compared to 20 ms on LTE. That saves about 10 ms. The advantage will disappear with the new equipment from Ericsson & Huawei which brings LTE very close to the speeds of 5G.

A better backbone (or an Edge Cloud) can reduce latency from 10-30 ms. Today's routers are much more powerful and much faster. Like most incumbent telcos, Verizon's network was loaded with out of date equipment, some 20 years old. Most carriers are slowly replacing older gear. Verizon One Fiber is replacing almost everything.  

Lee Hicks of Verizon is rebuilding that network with a goal of 5-15 ms. (That number is mine. Neither Lee nor anyone else at Verizon has discussed a figure. I'm inferring it from the capabilities of the equipment.) That will generally save 10-30 ms, more than the improvement with 5G radios. 

He is ripping out 200,000 pieces of equipment as part of Verizon One Fiber. "At the end of the day, I'm going to have about a 90% reduction in routers in the network. I'm going to be left with a dramatically smaller amount of equipment. I'm going to have about 10% of what I have today by the time we're done." (Over the years, Verizon built separate networks for wireline, wireless, corporate data, ...) 

One Verizon is delivering results. The new equipment "saves half" just in the first year. Overall, Verizon is reducing cost per bit by about 40% per year. As traffic growth slows towards 30%, margins are likely to expand. 

The rebuild is producing an enormous impact on latency, although Verizon has never discussed the details. In addition, Verizon is deploying servers strategically throughout the network, often at aggregation points. They are using  Calix 40 gigabit NG-PON2 for backhaul with the EXOS operating system, about which I hear good things.

Deutsche Telekom has built a multi-tier network including servers from MobiledgeX, a subsidiary. They are getting 20-25 ms latency, the lowest reported on 5G. (Most won't answer a question.) Crown Castle/Vapor IO has started deploying even closer to the customer and may get 10-15 milliseconds.

I call Verizon's network the most advanced in the world because they are one of the few with much mmWave and are also rebuilding the backbone.

dave ask


The 3.3-4.2 spectrum should be shared, not exclusively used by one company, concludes an important U.S. Defense Innovation Board report. If more wireless broadband is important, sharing is of course right because shared networks can yield far more

It does work! Verizon's mmWave tests over a gigabit in the real world. 
The $669 OnePlus 7 Pro outclasses the best Apples and probably the new Galaxy 10 or Huawei P30 Pro. Optical zoom, three cameras, liquid cooling, Qualcomm 855 and more.
Korea at 400,000 5G May 15. Chinese "pre-commercial" signing customers, 60,000-120,000 base stations in 2019, million+ remarkable soon. 
5G phones Huawei Mate 20, Samsung Galaxy 10, ZTE Nubia, LG V50, and OPPO are all on sale at China Unicom. All cost US$1,000 to 1,500 before subsidy. Xiaomi promises US$600.
Natural monopoly? Vodafone & Telecom Italia to share 5G, invite all other companies to join.
Huawei predicts 5G phones for US$200 in 2021, $300 even earlier
NY Times says "5G is dangerous" is a Russian plot. Really.
Althiostar raised US$114 million for a virtual RAN system in the cloud. Rakuten, Japan's new #4, is using it and invested.
Ireland is proposing a US$3 billion subsidy for rural fibre that will be much too expensive. Politics.
Telefonica Brazil has 9M FTTH homes passed and will add 6M more within two years. Adjusted for population, that's more than the U.S. The CEO publicly urged other carriers to raise prices together.
CableLabs and Cisco have developed Low Latency XHaul (LLX) with 5-15 ms latency for 5G backhaul,  U.S. cable is soon to come in very strong in wireless. Details 
Korea Telecom won 100,000 5G customers in the first month. SK & LG added 150,000 more. KT has 37,500 cells. planning 90% of the country by yearend. 
The Chinese giants expect 60,000 to 90,000 5G cells by the end of 2019.
China Telecom's Yang Xin warns, "Real large-scale deployment of operators' edge computing may be after 2021." Customers are hard to find.
Reliance Jio registered 97.5% 4G availability across India in Open Signal testing. Best in world.

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Welcome On Oct 1, 2019 Verizon turned on the first $20B 5G mmWave network with extraordinary hopes. The actual early results have been dismal. Good engineers tell me that will change. Meanwhile, the hype is unreal. Time for reporting closer to the truth.

The estimates you hear about 5G costs are wildly exaggerated. Verizon is building the most advanced wireless network while reducing capex. Deutsche Telekom and Orange/France Telecom also confirm they won't raise capex.

Massive MIMO in either 4G or "5G" can increase capacity 3X to 7X, including putting 2.3 GHz to 4.2 GHz to use. Carrier Aggregation, 256 QAM, and other tools double and triple that. Verizon sees cost/bit dropping 40% per year.

Cisco & others see traffic growth slowing to 30%/year or less.  I infer overcapacity almost everywhere.  

Believe it or not, 80% of 5G (mid-band) for several years will be slower than good 4G, which is more developed.