Verizon launches 5G in Boston, Houston and Sioux Falls

Verizon launched their 5G service in three new cities today, bringing their total number of cities with 5G to eighteen. Boston, Houston, and Sioux Falls are the latest markets to be lit up with Verizon 5G.

“We are building our 5G Ultra Wideband network to support the type of transformative breakthroughs people imagine when they think of next-generation connectivity,” said Kyle Malady, Verizon’s chief technology officer, in a press release today.

Verizon’s 5G Ultra Wideband service can be utilized in limited areas of the three new cities. In Boston, users will find 5G in the Fenway area as well as around Northeastern University. Houston users will find 5G in East Downtown, Uptown, Greenway Plaza, the Museum District and Rice Village, and around landmarks like The Galleria Mall, NRG Stadium, BBVA Compass Stadium and Rice University Stadium. In Sioux Falls, Verizon 5G subscribers will find the service in the downtown area around landmarks like Levitt at the Falls, the Orpheum Theatre, Washington Pavilion, the State Theatre, and the US Federal Courthouse.

Verizon plans to launch 5G in 30 cities around the country by the end of 2019. 

T-Mobile promises free 5G for first responders when Sprint merger is approved

As an incentive towards gaining support and approval for their merger with Sprint, T-Mobile has announced a plan called the “Connecting Heroes Initiative” to provide free service to first responders for 10 years. The program would include unlimited talk, text and 5G smartphone data to every public and nonprofit state and local law enforcement, fire and EMS first responder agency across the country.

“First responders are under more pressure than ever before. With the 5G network New T-Mobile will create, we can do our part to help say thanks,” T-Mobile CEO John Legere said.

T-Mobile’s offer will only come to fruition if the pending Sprint merger closes, and there may be limitations on the number of lines or the streaming video quality. More details will likely be available as the merger moves through the courts and FCC for approval.

T-Mobile to launch 5G in 5,000 markets on December 6

After announcing last week that they’d be making 5G available nationwide by the end of the year, T-Mobile has now given a launch date: December 6.

CEO John Legere and COO Mike Seivert announced in a webcast that the new 5G network will launch in over 5,000 markets next month. Unlike Verizon and AT&T’s 5G networks, the new network T-Mobile will be launching will operate low-band spectrum, which is not as fast as the frequencies used by other carriers but offers much better coverage – and is still much faster than 4G LTE.

Users will need either the Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Plus 5G or the OnePlus 7T Pro 5G McLaren edition to utilize T-Mobile’s 5G network. However, they will not need to change their service plan – existing plans will include 5G with no changes or extra fees.

US Cellular is on track to launch 5G in 2020

US Cellular reported their third quarter financial results this week, with their operating income up 3% over the same period last year. Service revenues were up 2% and they lost fewer subscribers than last year.

President and CEO Kenneth Meyers is happy with the progress, saying that the company “generated improved financial results and although subscriber activity was slow early in the quarter, we gained momentum and finished strong, achieving sequential improvement in postpaid handset net additions by delivering on our customer satisfaction strategy and implementing many of our strategic initiatives.”

Meyers also addressed the company’s 5G plans, saying that they are “on track to launch 5G service in Iowa and Wisconsin during the first quarter of 2020.” The modernization efforts they are making to their network in preparation for 5G are also benefiting current 4G subscribers, bringing better quality and improved speeds.

T-Mobile plans to launch nationwide 5G this year

Despite previously saying that they would launch nationwide 5G in 2020, T-Mobile announced today that they play to deploy 5G service on 600 MHz and millimeter wave spectrum nationwide this year.

AT&T and Verizon have each launched 5G using millimeter wave in around 12 markets, and Sprint has deployed 5G on the 2.5GHz spectrum in a few locations, but T-Mobile currently only offers 5G in 6 markets. If they do launch nationwide this year, they will have the most 5G coverage of any US carrier.

T-Mobile’s 5G service likely won’t be as fast as Verizon’s or AT&T’s due to the frequencies they’ll be using, but it will be faster than LTE and will have much better latency.

T-Mobile plans to offer a 5G phone to go along with their service soon and will have two by the end of the year. One that has already been announced is the OnePlus 7T Pro 5G McLaren, which will be exclusive to T-Mobile.

Sprint and T-Mobile merger approved by FCC

The US Federal Communications Commission has voted to approve the $26.5 billion merger between T-Mobile and Sprint.

“We appreciate the diligent evaluation, time and attention the FCC commissioners took to assess our transaction,” T-Mobile CEO John Legere Legere said, adding that the approval brings the company “one step closer” to the New T-Mobile.

There is still opposition and some obstacles to overcome, however. New York and 15 other states oppose the merger, but T-Mobile is working closely with the attorneys general of each state to resolve the concerns. Mississippi has dropped their suit against the company after T-Mobile committed to deploy a 5G network that provides 100Mbps speeds to 62% of the state’s urban and rural population and cover 92% of the population and 88% of its rural population within six years of merging with Sprint. T-Mobile has said before that it will not close the deal until all issues with the opposing states have been resolved, so similar agreements will likely follow.

Verizon 5G Home Internet coming to Chicago October 24

Starting this week, residents in Chicago can sign up for Verizon’s 5G Home service. “Now, in addition to Verizon’s speedy 5G Ultra Wideband mobility service, Chicago customers can access 5G Home Internet, the next generation of lightning fast home broadband internet service,” said Brian Higgins, vice president, device and consumer product marketing, Verizon. “With flexibility, freedom and choice that enables a whole new world of experiences, 5G Home Internet is truly the future of home connectivity.”

Verizon’s 5G Home service costs $50 per month for Verizon customers and $70 per month for non-Verizon customers and includes a 5G router with built-in Alexa as well as a free month of YouTube TV. Verizon’s 5G Home speeds average around 300 Mbps and peak up to 1 Gbps, and super low latency makes it ideal for gaming and streaming.

Customers in Chicago can sign up for the 5G service with Verizon beginning October 24.

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SureCall Announces Industry’s First 5G mmWave Signal Booster Platform to Be Featured at MWC19 Los Angeles

New 5G mmWave signal booster platform will enable 5G amplification for in-building solutions

Los Angeles, California – October 17, 2019 – SureCall, the performance leader in cell signal booster solutions, today announced its 5G Everywhere booster platform for scalable 5G millimeter wave (mmWave) signal boosters and antenna kitting options. SureCall’s comprehensive design platform offers the flexibility that carriers need to provide tailored 5G mmWave services across North America while maintaining the same award-winning quality, reliability, and compliance with FCC regulations.

The 5G Everywhere booster platform allows carriers and partners to build customizable signal boosting solutions to overcome the natural 5G signal propagation challenges and bring the technology into the homes and lives of consumers. The 5G Everywhere booster platform includes industry-leading features such as the exclusively patented Extended Range Technology™ (ERT) as well as amplification for all carriers operating 5G on the 28 GHz mmWave band. In addition, the platform is fully FCC compliant with current and upcoming 5G regulations, including network protection standards, for seamless integration into cell tower networks.

“Signal boosters have always proven effective at resolving cell signal penetration impediments and as we enter the era of 5G they will become more important,” said SureCall founder and CEO Hongtao Zhan. “Our 5G Everywhere booster platform allows carriers and other partners to meet their customer’s needs and enable 5G consumption at scale with the flexibility to handle a variety of applications and the benefit of nearly 20 years of innovation, quality, and reliability in the industry.”

A unique obstacle to making 5G mmWave available for the wider public would be the stark contrast in the way current cell signals, including 4G LTE, and 5G mmWave signals, propagate. Today’s cell towers are capable of delivering functional cell signals up to 30-45 miles away while the 5G mmWave cell towers are expected to only cover areas up to a few blocks away.

Even more challenging, the penetration power of 5G mmWave signals is much weaker compared to the current bands being used today. Not only do the 5G mmWave frequencies have shorter range, but they are also much more sensitive to obstacles such as walls, windows, and doors, and are even impeded by leaves on trees or falling rain water, making 5G mmWave signal boosters a necessity.

SureCall will debut the 5G Everywhere booster platform in booth 2506 at Mobile World Congress Americas (MWCA 2019) in Los Angeles, October 22-24. For more information or to schedule a meeting with SureCall, e-mail MWCA@surecall.com.

About SureCall

SureCall is the multi-patent, award-winning performance leader for cell phone signal boosters. Since its inception in 2001, SureCall has quickly grown to innovate at the cutting edge of the industry, winning back-to-back Inc. 5000 awards every year since 2016 as well as the 2017 CES Innovation Award, among many other accolades. SureCall combines its patented engineering with top-quality materials and comprehensive lifetime support to provide best-in-class solutions for mobile device users to access dependable cell service in their homes, offices, and vehicles. As a result, industry leaders such as Chrysler, Marriott, NASA, and HP all trust SureCall’s FCC-approved signal boosters for their quality, reliability, and performance.

Verizon looking at fiber alternative for 5G deployment in 2020

Verizon has been focused on building up their fiber network to serve as the backbone of their 5G service, but they are now looking at an alternative that may make 5G rollout easier in areas where deploying new fiber infrastructure is impractical or too expensive. The alternative technology they’re looking into is called Integrated Access Backhaul (IAB) technology, and it would allow Verizon to link a tower that has fiber running to it with another tower that doesn’t via a wireless connection, routing traffic from the nonconnected tower to the fiber-connected tower.

The 3GPP, the governing body behind the 5G standard, is adopting IAB into its next set of specifications, and equipment manufacturers will likely start implementing IAB into hardware soon. Glenn Wellbrock, director of architecture, design, and planning for Verizon’s optical transport network, says that Verizon plans to start using the technology by late 2020.

Utilizing IAB will allow Verizon to expand their 5G network much faster. AT&T is also looking into IAB, and others may as well.

AT&T Standalone 5G to launch in 2020

Thus far, all 5G roll-outs from US carriers have been “non-standalone” (NSA) 5G, meaning they utilize 4G LTE as the backbone. AT&T has now announced that they will begin deploying standalone 5G in 2020, making them the first carrier to do so. Verizon has said that they will deploy standalone 5G in 2020 or 2021, and T-Mobile plans to begin deployment in the timeframe as well, while Sprint has no plans to move away from NSA 5G.

Standalone 5G will have big advantages for enterprises. “It’s easy to get lower latencies, and you can do network slicing,” says Daryl Schoolar, practice leader of next-generation architecture at Ovum. Network slicing allows the virtualized 5G standalone core to create partitioned virtual segments on the physical network, an important benefit for mission-critical IoT applications.

New devices will be needed to use standalone 5G vs NSA. “The initial devices use silicon that doesn’t support standalone and will continue to be supported by our non-standalone Core,” said an AT&T spokesperson.