By Diana Goovaerts
LIVE FROM QUALCOMM SNAPDRAGON TECH SUMMIT 2018 – MAUI, HAWAII: Verizon’s head of wireless networks claimed the operator had a first mover advantage on 5G, with early deployments giving it a better idea of how the next generation technology fits with its 4G network and how customers use it.
In a panel discussion, Nicki Palmer (pictured, second from right) said the operator’s launch of fixed wireless access (FWA) 5G in October helped it understand “not just millimetre wave and how that spectrum is working, but how operationally the network works as a unit.”
“These are things that need to be optimised over time. It’s not immediately apparent when you throw a few nodes out in the environment that everything is going to coexist up to the reliability standards and the performance standards that our customers demand”.
She added first mover gains extend to the customer experience, and understanding how the in-home installation process works for FWA, along with how customers are using 5G with their connected devices.
Palmer reiterated the operator is moving “full steam ahead” with its mobile 5G network deployment and revealed the operator is working with Inseego on a 5G mobile hotspot device.
The hotspot is the third mobile device announced as part of the operator’s 5G line-up for 2019. It will use Qualcomm’s latest Snapdragon 855 platform to achieve speeds of more than 2Gb/s with less than 10 milliseconds of latency.
Inseego CEO Dan Mondor told Mobile World Live that, unlike a 5G home router Inseego supplied for Verizon’s FWA launch earlier this year, the mobile hotspot will be based on the 3GPP standard.
Mondor said the hotspot will initially serve consumer use cases, but added the company also sees it as a tool for enterprise, healthcare, government and IoT applications.
In addition to its work with Verizon, Mondor noted Inseego is in 5G device discussions with all four tier-1 US operators, along with operators in Europe and Asia. He said some are keen to lead their 5G deployments with FWA, while others are focused more on mobile.
But the executives, as well as other members of the panel Palmer sat on, offered only vague answers on the question of pricing for 5G devices and service.
Justin Denison, Samsung’s SVP of mobile product strategy and marketing (pictured, third from right), noted it is up to vendors and operators to create a value proposition that will excite consumers’ interest.
Similarly, Palmer said operators’ relationship with consumers will evolve but doesn’t “expect it to be so transformational that consumers don’t understand it and we can’t sell it.”
“It will be about the differentiated experiences and creating value…What we’ve seen with our track record with consumers and businesses alike is they will pay for a differentiated service. They will pay for something that makes their life and their job easier, and I think 5G holds all of that promise.”