Have you been following the unlimited data war that's going on between the top four U.S. mobile providers? The battle kicked off when Verizon fired the first shot by bringing back unlimited data plans. After that, T-Mobile, AT&T and Sprint all responded with unlimited data plans of their own. Click here to read our breakdown of what each company is offering.
Now, Verizon is taking aim at the wireless broadband market, challenging cable companies in their efforts to bring lightning-fast internet to cities across the nation. We've been reporting on this for years, as companies like Comcast, Cox and even Google have been laying fiber cable in select cities, each hoping to be the first to make the internet faster and better for everyone.
On Wednesday, February 22, Verizon made an announcement no one was expecting. It's doing something different, and may be able to achieve gigabit speeds without needing fiber cable. To test this strategy, the company will be running trials in 11 U.S. cities of what it's calling "5G Technology."
What is Verizon's 5G technology?
Verizon's goal is to enable customers to experience competitive pricing, along with gigabit speeds that in the past were only possible by using fiber cables. AT&T is also working on a similar technology called AirGig 5G. These will be in direct competition with other high-speed internet services that are on the way, like Google Fiber.
Verizon is not focusing its 5G technology on speeding up mobile communications, as of yet. It will initially focus on bringing super fast internet to customers' homes. Watch this video to see how this 5G tech is being implemented.
Verizon has teamed with other companies such as Intel, Qualcomm and Samsung to become 5GTF ecosystem partners. It's on its way to commercializing chipsets, infrastructure products and consumer gadgets based on the 5GTF specification.
Adam Koeppe, VP of Network Planning at Verizon said, "5G technology innovation is rapidly evolving. Network density is increasing to meet the demands of customers, and following the FCC's aggressive action on 5G spectrum, the time is right to deliver the next generation of broadband services with 5G."
Select customers will receive Verizon's 5G pre-commercial services on its newly built network. It's the largest proving ground in the world, encompassing hundreds of cell sites covering thousands of customer locations.
Verizon will begin offering 5G to pilot customers over the next few months in these 11 metropolitan areas:
- Ann Arbor, Michigan
- Atlanta, Georgia
- Bernardsville, New Jersey
- Brockton, Massachusetts
- Dallas, Texas
- Denver, Colorado
- Houston, Texas
- Miami, Florida
- Sacramento, California
- Seattle, Washington
- Washington, D.C.
The company hasn't released details on how to become a pilot customer yet. If you live in one of these markets and are interested, contact Verizon and ask how you can sign-up. Who knows, you could be in the fast-lane of the information super-highway by summer.