Verizon taps Ericsson, Nokia for DSS trials

Verizon announced that it has completed successful trials of dynamic spectrum sharing (DSS) technology using low-band spectrum in Texas and Minnesota.

Verizon is working with Ericsson and Nokia in these particular trials, but it’s actively working with all of its infrastructure vendors on DSS technology, a spokesperson told Fierce. Samsung Networks also is providing DSS solutions this year.

The DSS trials were conducted in a live network environment and showed effective completion of data sessions with both LTE and 5G NR services running simultaneously, according to Verizon.

“The most recent successful trials of our DSS technology demonstrate we are on track to launch 5G Nationwide in 2020,” said Adam Koeppe, senior vice president of Technology Planning at Verizon, in a statement. “DSS will allow us to run 5G technology on the same spectrum bands as LTE without inefficiently wasting spectrum resources. It will complement Verizon’s primary strategy of offering a keenly differentiated 5G Ultra Wideband service on mmWave spectrum which will remain our deployment priority.”

DSS will give Verizon the ability to offer 5G on a national scale, allowing 5G service to run simultaneously with 4G LTE on multiple spectrum bands, including those historically reserved for 4G LTE services.  

Verizon uses 850 MHz as its primary DSS carrier, although some markets will use PCS and AWS spectrum. The carrier aims to have DSS rolled out by the end of 2020, according to the spokesperson.

During an investor conference last month, Verizon CEO Hans Vestberg said DSS would be rolled out when the commercial side of the house determines it’s time to turn it on, but the strategy wasn’t affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

RELATED: Verizon sticks behind ambiguous 2020 DSS rollout plan

AT&T has already rolled out DSS in parts of north Texas. AT&T didn’t name the vendor supplying its DSS software; the Ericsson Spectrum Sharing (ESS) product already is used in commercial networks by global operators. Nokia launched DSS in April and at the time said volume shipments were expected in July.

Earlier this year, T-Mobile’s Neville Ray expressed doubts about DSS, saying this was going to be a tough year for DSS and that one of the major network vendors was “very late” on delivering the capability. During the company’s last earnings call, he said it was still “bumpy” for the technology, which T-Mobile eventually will use but it doesn’t need as soon as its rivals. 

AT&T has said it expects to have nationwide 5G coverage this summer, and T-Mobile already boasts nationwide 5G using 600 MHz spectrum. That said, Ray last week said that so far, “we’ve all made” a lot of statements about 5G but the reach and impact has been “very, very limited today.” That will change this year as T-Mobile shifts into high gear with its newly acquired 2.5 GHz spectrum from Sprint.

According to Verizon’s Koeppe, the inherent characteristics of 5G technology will lead to a wide variety of use cases that include everything from massive numbers of IoT devices that do very little networking, to smartphones with infinite opportunities to use data, to more complex solutions such as AR/VR that will require massive computing capabilities on the edge of the network.

“Those solutions will each require different combinations of the capabilities 5G will offer. To ‘right-size’ network resources for these various use cases, it will require great flexibility and adaptability in the network,” he stated. “DSS is an important stepping stone in achieving the flexibility and adaptability needed to accomplish such an aspirational level of programmability in our advanced Intelligent Edge Network.”