Verizon Lays Out an Ambitious but Vague Plan for Its Initial 5G Rollout

Lots of hype, but few details.

2019 is supposed to be when cellular carriers begin giving Americans access to high-speed, 5G wireless broadband technology. But in addition to there being some general confusion of what the term refers to and how 5G might work, plans for the rollout itself have also been light on the details. Take the latest announcement from Verizon, which on Thursday revealed some more details about its 2019 5G rollout.

Company CEO Hans Vestberg recently held a Thursday meeting with investors where he announced Verizon would be deploying the fifth generation of wireless connectivity in 30 cities by the end of 2019. But he conveniently left out what cities would be included, the extent of coverage users should expect, and when the the roll out would officially begin. He did confirm that it will offer both home and mobile services, which would give customers wifi-like internet speeds when they aren’t connected to a network. It’s a leap that’s important for continuing to push the envelope in industries like mobile entertainment and interconnected cars.

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Skyward President Maria Scott and Verizon CEO Hans Vestberg remotely pilot a drone in Los Angeles from Las Vegas using 5G technologies.

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“It’s just going be a total different experience in speed and throughput than you have ever seen before,” said Vestberg according to a report of the meeting from The Verge. This statement comes a day after Verizon announced it would partner with Samsung to bring its newly announced Galaxy S10 5G smartphones to market “in the first half of 2019.”

The clock for that is ticking. Only four months remain until the summer comes around and Verizon isn’t disclosing where it wants to build out its 5G network first. A delay in its plans could also set back Samsung’s new phone. Without a functional 5G network, customers of a potentially $1000-device wouldn’t be able to use its defining feature. That’s not even taking into account the many potential buyers would simply pass on the S10 5G because their hometown simply doesn’t have the infrastructure to support it.

But Verizon isn’t the only carrier that’s talking big with little to no details. T-Mobile said it’s also planning on rolling its 5G offerings to 30 cities, it’s only announced New York, Los Angeles, Dallas, and Las Vegas as the first four. AT&T’s 5G network is technically set up in 12 cities but no one’s been able to use it yet.

The time has come for many cell carriers to deliver on the hype and user experience promised by 5G. But with vague plans still circulating, it’s looking like it might take a little longer than expected to get 5G off of the ground.

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