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Verizon to double the number of cities with its 5G mobile service in 2020

February 14, 2020 / Sujata Bondge

  • Verizon is planning to expand its 5G service to another 19 cities by the end of 2020.

  • The company is not only expanding markets but also expanding coverage in all the markets.

  • It also plans to expand its edge computing agreement with Amazon Web Services.

Verizon is in a cutthroat competition with the rest of the major US carriers to install next-generation 5G networking. The telecom giant was the first to launch its cellular 5G network in the cities, meaning that with the right device and location, you can finally enjoy 5G speeds. The company plans to double the number of cities covered by its superfast 5G wireless network by the end of the year while expanding coverage in the areas where it already has service.

The company said on Thursday that it hopes to offer 5G for mobile customers in 60 cities (up from 31 at the end of 2019) and 10 cities for home 5G Internet service (up from five). The carrier did not name the new cities.

“Verizon will expand its 5G Home fixed wireless Internet service to a total of ten cities during 2020, up from the five it currently covers.”

-Hans Vestberg, CEO of Verizon Communications

That's noteworthy considering Verizon recently overhauled the offering to include a do-it-yourself installation component coupled with new, 3GPP-compatible 5G equipment. However, Verizon did not name the cities it will expand 5G Home and mmWave 5G into.


Learn more: Verizon’s plan to deploy 5G home internet

Verizon's announcements essentially counter worries that the company is shrinking from the daunting task of deploying commercial mobile services in mmWave spectrum bands. Due to the physics governing transmissions in such bands, signals in the mmWave spectrum can only travel a few thousand feet at the most, and often cannot travel through obstacles like buildings, trees, and glass. As a result, Verizon and other operators building mmWave networks have been forced to construct more "small cell" transmission sites – Verizon said it expects to build five times more small cell sites in 2020 than it did last year, according to the Fortune article. However, Verizon did not provide a specific number for its small cell ambitions.

“Our 5G Ultra Wideband network uses millimeter-wave spectrum and is specifically designed to provide customers significantly faster download speeds and greater bandwidth than what is delivered in today’s 4G world. What we’re building is transformational and will change the way we live, work and play.”

-Kyle Malady, chief technology officer for Verizon

Importantly, Verizon's Vestberg said the operator's 5G actions are designed in part to encourage customers to upgrade to one of the company's 5G service plans. Verizon currently charges an extra $10 per month for 5G access on its cheapest unlimited plan and has promised to impose that fee on its more expensive unlimited plans sometime in the future.


But Verizon's 5G efforts aren't exclusive to its mmWave spectrum. Vestberg reiterated Verizon's promise to expand 5G to other spectrum bands sometime this year via the application of Dynamic Spectrum Sharing (DSS). That's noteworthy considering that T-Mobile has reported problems with at least one vendor in deploying DSS.

Learn more: Comparison between 6 GHz and mmWare

Generally, it happens that when customers move outside Verizon’s 5G Ultra Wideband coverage area, the 5G-enabled device transitions to Verizon’s 4G LTE network, the network more people rely on. In fact, recent reports have said that Verizon’s 4G LTE is faster than other 5G networks in recent user-experience testing.

Another news about the company said it plans to expand its edge computing agreement with AWS, first announced late last year. The companies hope to operate a total of 11 edge computing sites by the end of 2020, up from one site when the pact was first announced.

Verizon expanding an agreement with AWS

Taken together, Verizon's announcements today reflect continued momentum by the operator in the realm of 5G. Unlike its rival AT&T, which is in the midst of building out a streaming video operation via its acquisition of Time Warner, Verizon has bet much of its corporate future on 5G. Thus, given the operator's size and scope, it can be viewed as a bit of a 5G bellwether.

That said, it's difficult to gauge the details of Verizon's 5G progress considering the company does not disclose important metrics like the number of 5G handsets it has sold, the number of 5G customers it counts, the number of 5G transmission sites it operates and the specific revenues it expects to derive from 5G.