Half of the United States will have access to next-gen 5G networks next year, Verizon CEO Hans Vestberg said in an interview with CNBC, citing the company's upcoming ability to share spectrum between 4G and 5G users using dynamic spectrum sharing (DSS) technology. However, he also predicted that it will not be until 2024 that half of the population will own devices that can connect to this network.
There is a great prediction from Vestberg, not least because Verizon's focus on using the high speed, but relatively short distance mmWave technology means that the 5G network is currently only available in very specific locations in the cities where it is launched. Making the network available across half of America will require Verizon to significantly increase accessibility in cities where it has already been launched, as well as launch entirely in new cities.
On today's revenue call, Vestberg defended this focus on mmWave, saying that Verizon's goal was to provide a "transformative experience" by offering the types of high speeds that only mmWave is capable of. However, he said he expected the launch of DSS next year to help expand the company's 5G coverage. DSS is a technology that allows operators to share spectrum between 4G and 5G users, meaning the same spectrum segment can serve both types of devices. Verizon can then offer a much wider range of coverage to the new 5G users, without having to worry about cutting access from the much larger number of 4G customers.
Getting 5G units into the hands of half the population by 2024 will require offering a much wider range of devices. Verizon currently only sells three 5Gs: the LG V50 ThinQ 5G, the Samsung Galaxy S1
President's prediction came a day after Verizon brought the 5G network to a further four US cities, leading to the total number of US cities with access to the next network to nine. The company says it expects to have 5G available in more than 30 cities by the end of the year. Next to yesterday's announcement, the company detailed a list of very specific places in the cities where people can connect to 5G.