Samsung and Verizon edge into the lead in 5G race

Samsung’s 5G home router has been the first to win approval from the FCC, edging itself and Verizon into the lead, as the telco pushes forward with plans to launch commercial 5G services in late 2018.

The certification, which you can see here, gives the green light for the Samsung indoor 5G router, after the FCC previously approved it’s access unit and outdoor 5G router. With all the right boxes now ticked, Samsung has the first ‘end-to-end system’ ready for commercial 5G, making use of the 28 GHz spectrum band. The approval is certainly good news for Verizon, which is planning to use the Samsung system to launch its 5G offering by the end of the year.

“Our 5G deployment is progressing as planned,” said Verizon CFO Matthew Ellis during the company’s Q1 earnings call. “We are quickly approaching the initial launch of our residential broadband service later this year, which will be the first use case of a broader 5G strategy. We are driving the ecosystem for future growth across the entire array of 5G services.”

Back in January, Verizon announced Samsung had been selected as one of its suppliers for commercial 5G Fixed Wireless Access (FWA) network solutions, with the plan to launch services in Sacramento in the second half of 2018. Questions have been raised over the effectiveness of mmWave for connectivity, though Verizon claims through 11 city 5G pre-commercial trials, propagation over 2000 feet from the node on the spectrum has been demonstrated.

Progress has been made in terms of FWA, though Verizon has been coy on mobile 5G services. The Samsung equipment can also support mobile operations, however 3GPP standards-compliant equipment will require a separate approval from the FCC.

Verizon, and the US on the whole, has been battling with various players around the world for dominance in the 5G era, though it has been making steady progress in recent months. Aside from this certification, it teamed up with KT in Korea to demonstrate a 5G video call between the CEOs of the two telcos, as well as completing an over-the-air call on a 3GPP-compliant 5G New Radio (NR) system using licensed spectrum, alongside Qualcomm and Nokia.

These are all incremental gains, which mean little more than PR quips alone, but together demonstrate the progress Verizon is actually making. Services might be limited to the Sacramento area, but it might well earn the gold medal in the 5G race.

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