By Sue Marek
If you have been paying attention to the fourth-quarter 2018 earnings reports from the major wireless operators, you may have noticed a bit of backpedaling and strategy tweaking occurring on the 5G front. I guess it’s not surprising. After all, 5G is a very complicated network overhaul and no one seems particularly clear on what new services and applications will be the big game changers once these new networks are deployed.
What’s been particularly interesting to me is how the two major U.S. operators have waffled on their timelines and business strategies for fixed 5G vs. mobile 5G. In 2018 Verizon pushed hard to be the “first” operator to launch 5G and it was going to do so by offering a fixed wireless service. The company fulfilled that goal with its prestandardized fixed 5G service, called 5G Home, that it launched in four markets in October 2018. The prestandard version is based upon 5G specs created by the 5G Tech Forum, which is a group organized by Verizon and includes vendors such as Ericsson, Samsung, and Cisco.