Verizon taps Ericsson for commercial launch of fixed-wireless 5G next year

Verizon has tapped Ericsson to provide networking equipment for a “prestandard” launch of commercial, fixed-wireless 5G in the second half of 2018.

The two companies will deploy the next-generation network in select U.S. markets using Ericsson’s technology for the core network infrastructure and 5G Radio Access Network (RAN) as well as “transport and associated services.” Verizon and Ericsson said the prestandard deployment will help to accelerate the development of commercialized 5G networks based on 3GPP standards-based technologies.

“5G will change the way we work, interact, learn and play,” said Ed Chan, Verizon’s senior vice president of technology strategy and planning for corporate networking technology, in a press release. “Through our work with Ericsson, we are creating a clear road map and building a robust ecosystem that will enable us to maximize the potential of 5G.”

While the announcement clearly marks a major win for Ericsson, it isn’t surprising: The Swedish vendor has worked closely with Verizon to develop and showcase 5G technologies, and in May they demonstrated a millimeter wave 5G network at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in a car traveling roughly 60 mph.

The companies have also conducted fixed-wireless 5G trials using millimeter wave spectrum in several cities and residential neighborhoods across the United States.

“Our pioneering work with 5G will make U.S. consumers and businesses among the first in the world to benefit from the transformative services of the new technology,” said Fredrik Jejdling, Ericsson’s EVP and head of business area networks, in the announcement. “It further illustrates how our global 5G portfolio, designed to support 5G NR as standardized in 3GPP, enables first movers in the early commercialization of 5G networks.”

Verizon had previously outlined plans to launch fixed wireless services using its 5G network technology standard sometime next year, after tests in 11 markets this year. The company has yet to provide many exact details about how it plans to go to market—such as planned pricing, speeds and coverage—but a review of the current fixed wireless landscape indicates Verizon will need to overcome a number of hurdles to successfully challenge its wired cable and telco rivals with a wireless service.