Verizon revealed Los Angeles (LA) will be its “second” 5G city ahead of a planned launch at the end of year, while rival Sprint named three additional cities for its initial 5G rollout in 2019.
In a statement, Verizon said it plans to deploy 5G technology in LA starting in Q4 2018, making it the second city named by the operator as part of plans announced in November 2017 to launch fixed wireless access (FWA) 5G services in between three and five markets. The US market leader had so far only named Sacramento as a 5G city, with inaugural launch expected in the second half of the year.
Lowell McAdam, Verizon CEO, said relationships with “progressive-minded” cities like Sacramento, LA and Boston (where the company is testing IoT solutions) “are critical to putting next-generation technology into the hands of consumers and businesses”.
Verizon conducted trials of FWA 5G in 11 markets using 28GHz spectrum throughout 2017. San Francisco has also been tipped as a potential launch city this year.
Despite striking a deal to merge with rival T-Mobile US, subject to regulatory approval, Sprint is also forging ahead with its own 5G plans for now.
The operator announced New York City, Phoenix and its hometown Kansas City will be among the first to experience Sprint’s 5G network, adding to six other locations announced by the operator in February: Atlanta, Chicago, Texas, LA and Washington DC.
In truth, Sprint already revealed it would launch 5G in Kansas City a few weeks ago, but New York and Phoenix are new on the list.
A Sprint representative told Mobile World Live in April the operator was focused on rolling out 5G in locations where it has a large customer base, a critical mass of 2.5GHz cell sites and the spectrum necessary to execute its 5G plans.
Sprint added in its statement it plans to deploy thousands of Massive MIMO radios in 2018 and 2019 to increase network capacity to millions of customers, which forms a key part of Sprint’s next-gen network strategy.
T-Mobile has said it plans to launch 5G services in Dallas, Las Vegas, LA and New York in 2019.
Notably, the merger with Sprint has been heavily positioned as a way to roll out 5G more quickly, so both companies’ plans could change if the tie-up looks likely to get the green light.
AT&T, meanwhile, is planning a mobile 5G launch in a dozen US cities at the end of this year, which will include Texas and Atlanta.