Verizon Communications plans to launch faster 5G wireless service next year in up to five markets.
The company said Friday that it will launch the faster wireless service in the second half of the year, starting in Sacramento, Calif. It will announce later the other markets where it plans to make the fifth-generation service available.
5G wireless service uses radio signals, instead of copper or fiber cable, allowing for faster Internet speeds. 5G will transmit data at least 10 times faster – and maybe more than 50 times faster – than the 4G service available in most places now.
Radio technology also makes providing 5G easier – because no cable installation is needed.
The race to make 5G speed available to customers is happening in large part because of the interest in the Internet of Things. Connecting smart devices to each other through the Internet is one of the top interests for consumer tech companies right now. Companies expect to spend about $5 trillion on Internet of Things applications in the next five years.
Internet of Things, or IoT, applications include smart technology in homes, robots that can talk to other robots in a network to do things like order new parts for a factory, stoplights that can tell officials when they’re broken, and computers in driverless cars that talk to other computers, such as those in other cars or in a road. 5G hotspots for example, allow driverless cars to do data transfers needed to make the mapping systems work.
Verizon has already tested 5G residential services in 11 markets. It estimates its market potential for the service at about 30 million households in the United States.
“This is a landmark announcement for customers and investors who have been waiting for the 5G future to become a reality,” Hans Vestberg, Verizon president of Global Networks and Chief Technology Officer said in the company’s statement announcing the move. “We appreciate our strong ecosystem partners for their passion and technological support in helping us drive forward with 5G industry standards, for both fixed and mobile applications. The targeted initial launches we are announcing today will provide a strong framework for accelerating 5G’s future deployment on the global standards.”