5G is heating up in the world. Verizon launched a Fixed Wireless Access commercial service on October 1st, 2018.
Elisa reported its 5G network carried a 5G phone call on June 27th, 2018 between the Estonian minister of Economy and her Finnish colleague in Finland.
Ooredoo in Qatar claimed in May 2018 to be the first world player to launch 5G nationally with 50 sites registered late in July 2018 and 50 additional base stations to be added in August 2018 (see here the 5G launch event). Ooredoo seems to be providing 5G wTTH (wireless To The Home) services on 3.5 GHz spectrum domestically with the very few compatible devices available (25 devices according to Gulf times). Ooredoo showcased its device. Considering 5G mobile devices are not ready yet, it states it is waiting for manufacturers to produce 5G capable devices (June 2019).
Verizon 5G Home service was launched on October 1st, 2018 in limited areas of four US cities (Houston, Sacramento, Indianapolis, Los Angeles). The service is charged at 70 USD per month (50 USD/month for existing Verizon customers). There are no annual contracts, no equipment charges and no data caps. For the first three months, an Apple TV or a Google Chromecast Ultra is offered for free (40 USD after the first three months). Speeds range from 300 Mbps to 1 Gbps, depending on location.
AT&T is the first in the U.S. to announce the launch of a commercial standard-based mobile 5G network on 21st December 2018. 5G hotspots will be deployed in the dense urban areas of 12 cities: Atlanta, Charlotte, N.C., Dallas, Houston, Indianapolis, Jacksonville, Fla., Louisville, Ky., Oklahoma City, New Orleans, Raleigh, N.C., San Antonio and Waco, Texas. The service will extend in parts of 7 other cities in 2019: Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Nashville, Orlando, San Diego, San Francisco and San Jose, Calif.
The NETGEAR Nighthawk 5G Mobile Hotspot device will run on AT&T’s 5G+ network over mm-wave spectrum. Customers outside of 5G+ network coverage will be able to use the device to access the best performing network in the country as well as AT&T’s 5G Evolution networks (equipped with 256 QAM, 4×4 MIMO, and Multiple LTE Carrier Aggregation) available in 385 markets. The Nighthawk hotspot device will be available to customers for 499 USD upfront and a monthly 70 USD payment for 15GB of data. This device requires an AT&T data plan compatible with 5G.
3.5 GHz and 28 GHz spectrum were auctioned off in South Korea in June 2018.
The February 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang provided a stage for displaying 5G innovation. KT was very active. Samsung and KT provided a 4K streaming video service via a 5G network using 28 GHz spectrum. KT provided the 5G data network through a collaboration led by Intel with partners including Ericsson, Nokia and Alibaba, while Samsung unveiled its 5G mobile tablet device to deliver a 4K streaming video via Intel’s base stations. KT demonstrated on its 5G network four types of data-heavy video streaming services: Sync view, Timeslice, 360 VR and Omnipoint view. KT also showed a 5G Connect Bus using 5G, capable of autonomous driving using Lidar sensors and the V2X technology. Hyundai demonstrated five Level4 autonomous cars on a 196km trip to PyeongChang; the cars were connected to the KT 5G net for entertaining the passengers.
SK Telecom, LGU+ and KT launched their 5G service in a number of cities on December 1st, 2018. The launches came earlier than previously announced and thus expected. In fact, all MNOs announced in July 2018 their intention to jointly launch 5G in March 2019. This intention arrived one year after a first agreement signed in April 2018 on a shared 5G deployment and network. This first agreement’s intention aimed at avoiding a very costly launch campaign when 4G came to reality back in 2011 and generating heavy cost savings of nearly 1 trillion KRW over the next ten years.