Verizon Finalizes Radio Specs for 5G, Begins Pre-Commercial Testing

Verizon has dropped the mic and announced that they have finalized the radio specifications for 5G networking. Now what that means to us mere mortals is that it has worked out the carrier frequencies and protocols that it will use to bring us lightning fast speed and pings of less than a millisecond. Yes that is fast.

Most of America struggles with speeds up to 10 Mbps. That’s horrendous considering that Wifi and Ethernet connections are providing Gigabit speeds and then some. The problem with achieving something so fast is that sooner or later people start wanting something faster. 4G LTE was touted as the best thing ever when it came out in 2010, followed by the first 4G LTE capable phone, the HTC Thunderbolt. But now Gigabit Ethernet connections and WiFi speeds have leapt so far ahead of the LTE standard that it looks tame by comparison. Verizon has won the race to be first at announcing that they’ve nailed down the basics of 5G. And while T-Mobile US CEO John Legere has dubbed these claims to be ‘pure horse shit’, Verizon isn’t one to play around with this sort of thing. It calls this a ‘key milestone’ in the establishment of 5G.

The development of the specification allows industry partners such as chipset vendors, network vendors and mobile operators to develop interoperable solutions and contribute to prestandard testing and fabrication.

They’ve begun pre-commercial testing in Massachusetts, New Jersey and Texas and while they haven’t given any news on how long it’ll take to get this network up and running they have said that it’ll be sometime next year. Industry analysts don’t agree with that and predict that it won’t be operational until the start of the next decade.

There’s a lot of stuff to work out including how the radios will function in real life conditions and in different buildings of different sizes, yes that’s actually a thing that network providers have to worry about. But by all intents and purposes, the result will probably be like Google Fiber in your pocket. Now that’s not to say that you’ll do something revolutionary with it, most of us will just download Pokémon GO! or watch PewDiePie or Smosh but the fact that we’ll be able to shave of considerable time spent on loading all that stuff is comforting.

The FCC is also holding a meeting this Thursday to discuss the standards for 5G networking including calling for a vote to use high frequency airwaves specifically for 5G. It will also welcome comments to free up further high frequency bands for 5G.

China Wants To Export 5G
In other news, China has announced that it’s also pursuing 5G but not for domestic use. The country’s network equipment makers, led by Huawei are looking to export 5G for commercial use. China is looking to embed a significant amount of Chinese technology in the 5G standard so that it can free itself from paying royalties. China Mobile is the world’s largest network operator with 800 million subscribers.