U.S. mobile carrier Verizon will launch a commercial 5G (fifth-generation) fixed wireless broadband service on October 1, claiming that it is the first carrier in the world to offer a commercial 5G service.
Verizon starts a 5G broadband Internet service two months ahead of the launch of a commercial 5G mobile service by the three Korean mobile operators. Yet the U.S. company’s claim to be the world's first commercial 5G service provider is stirring up controversy as its service, dubbed Verizon 5G Home, lacks mobility, a key element of 5G.
According to foreign media reports, Verizon will launch the 5G broadband service in four cities including Houston and Los Angeles on October 1. The service will feature an average download speed of 300 Mbps, which is more than double the average LTE download speed of 133.43 Mbps offered by mobile carriers in Korea.
Verizon officials tout the new service as the world’s first commercial 5G service. "5G is here," Hans Vestberg, Verizon CEO, said in a statement. Other company officials said the new service showed that they are leading the way on the 5G technology.
Some Korean media also reported that Korean mobile carriers lost the "world’s first 5G service" title to the U.S. company.
Even though U.S. news organizations called Verizon’s 5G home service “the start of the world’s first commercial 5G services,” some experts have different views as Verizon 5G Home is devoid of an essential element needed to be internationally recognized as 5G commercialization.
Verizon will offer 5G services through fixed wireless access (FWA) devices, not through 5G mobile devices. In other words, Verizon’s services are fixed telecommunication services, not mobile services. "The International Telecommunication Union (ITU) defines 13 requirements for 5G services," said Choi Woo-hyuk, director of the Information and Communication Broadcasting Technology Policy Department at the Korean Ministry of Science and ICT. “One of the requirements is mobility. If a 5G service does not have mobility, it will be difficult to be recognized as a commercial 5G service."
In fact, when the LTE service was commercialized, mobility was a required condition. In December 2009, the LTE service was commercialized by Teliasonera in Sweden. Teliasonera secured its mobility by using routers.
"Verizon will implement a commercial service using 5G but the company can hardly claim to be the world’s first carrier to succeed in 5G commercialization as its service does not provide mobility," said an official of the Korean mobile telecommunication industry. "If a 5G service does not need to meet all of the ITU’s requirements for a commercial 5G service, I think that a 5G pilot service that KT introduced during the PyeongChang Olympic Winter Games will be the world’s first commercialization of a 5G service."
In the meantime, the Korean mobile telecommunication industry will demonstrate a 5G service using routers in December at the earliest. Compared to the LTE case, it is highly likely that the 5G service will be recognized as the world's first commercialization of a 5G service. The Korean mobile telecommunication industry plans to start a 5G service using mobile devices such as smartphones in March of next year.