By Chris Donkin

Verizon steals spotlight with US 5G launch date

Verizon played the trump card as US operators competed for headlines ahead of Mobile World Congress Americas, announcing its fixed wireless access 5G product would launch in four US cities next month.

Residents in Houston, Texas; Indianapolis, Indiana; and Los Angeles and Sacramento, California will be the first to gain access to the residential broadband service, called Verizon 5G Home. Customers in these areas will be able to sign-up from Thursday and receive the service on 1 October.

The service is based on Verizon’s own proprietary 5G standard (5GTF), with the operator moving to the official 3GPP standard (NR) of 5G for future ‘mobile’ 5G launches

5G Battle

The news came as stateside operators staked their claims for 5G leadership, making a barrage of announcements as senior executives prepared to face-off on stage at MWC Americas.

Top-tier leaders from Sprint, Verizon and AT&T are set to speak across the opening four keynotes before all four major US operators go head-to-head during the 5G CTO session Thursday afternoon.

udging by the number of 5G claims made in recent days, MWC Americas looks set to be the culmination of months of jostling for position.

Earlier this week, AT&T revealed another batch of US cities set to be hooked-up to mobile 5G by the end of the year, in addition to claiming the world’s first 5G data transfer over mmWave using standards-based kit and a device with a “mobile form factor”.

Yesterday, T-Mobile inked a $3.5 billion contract with Ericsson for 5G New Radio hardware and software for use across all spectrum bands available to the operator. The deal comes six weeks after the operator signed a contract for the same value with Nokia for hardware and software to support its next-generation network, raising its total 5G equipment investment to $7 billion.

Sprint focused its pre-show announcements on a demo with Nokia, which the pair billed as the first live showcase of a 5G New Radio connection made over a dual mode-capable Massive MIMO radio. It also announced it would use the show to discuss the use of 5G for AI in partnership with parent SoftBank.

Outside of the conference tracks, the operators and their partners appear poised to make further announcements in a bid to grasp the 5G advantage, in addition to hosting demonstrations in the exhibition halls.