5G is finally making its way, though not all 5G will be equal. The 5G millimeter wave is quite small, making it troublesome to cover a wide area and penetrate buildings. Verizon and T-Mobile recently agreed that much of the United States won’t receive the fast version of 5G, the “sub-6GHz” frequency, more easily deployable using an existing spectrum.
“We all need to remind ourselves this is not a coverage spectrum,” Verizon CEO Hans Vestberg told analysts on the company’s Q1 2019 earnings call on Tuesday.
“Millimeter wave (mmWave) spectrum has great potential in terms of speed and capacity, but it doesn’t travel far from the cell site and doesn’t penetrate materials at all. It will never materially scale beyond small pockets of 5G hotspots in dense urban environments,” Ray wrote.
T-Mobile delayed its 5G launch until the second half of 2019, claiming it was “too early to launch a 5G network when there aren’t any compatible phones,” as The Verge reports. That’s not the company’s only issue – T-Mobile’s still trying to convince US regulators that it needs to merge with Sprint to successfully compete on 5G.
Verizon also reportedly suggested to The Verge that it might decide to not spend money on delivering the fastest 5G to its customers. “Our ambition is large… that doesn’t mean we’re going to blanket every corner of the country with millimeter wave,” Verizon chief network officer Nikki Palmer told The Verge.
“We will do it as far as the economics are sustainable, of course,” Vestberg said.