4G mobile broadband may not be universally available yet, but mobile operators are already looking ahead to 5G. Verizon has announced plans to begin start rolling out its 5G network in 2017, with a limited test of the technology scheduled to start in 2016.

So what does that mean? It’s too early to get specific, but 5G networks should be faster and more responsive than 4G, allowing super-fast download speeds, reduced latency, and other improvements.


While Verizon hopes to start a commercial rollout of its 5G network in 2017, it’ll probably be a few years before 5G is available throughout the US and other countries.

Right now there’s no universal definition of what exactly 5G is. At the dawn of the 4G era a few years ago, there were two competing technologies: LTE and WiMAX. The former was pretty widely adopted, while the latter faded away.

So what Verizon calls 5G may not be the same as what other carriers called 5G. But most industry players seem to agree that 5G networks will offer data transfer speeds that are many times faster than 4G, network latency that’s much lower, and the ability to connect many devices to a network simultaneously.

In other words, you’ll be able to download a full HD video in seconds rather than minutes, it’ll take less time to initiate communication between your mobile device and a network, and “internet of things” products will be able to make use of the network alongside phones, tablets, notebooks, and other devices.

Reduced latency could also help users play online video games (press a button and watch your avatar react almost instantly), make voice or video calls across long distances (without encountering a network delay), or when interacting with IoT devices (get instant alerts when your home security alarm goes off).

For now, Verizon says its 5G technology is up to 50 times as fast as the company’s 4G network and offers latency as low as 1 millisecond. Other network providers may define 5G differently in the coming years.

Verizon is working with hardware partners including Alcatel-Lucent, Cisco, Ericsson, Nokia, Qualcomm, and Samsung to develop its new technology.

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9 replies on “Verizon to begin testing 5G technology in 2016”

  1. By now customers have paid nearly $500 billion toward a fiber optic network. WHERE IS IT? Why should we believe this purported 5G will be anything more than a method to squeeze more money out of us for a slight improvement on existing technology? We don’t have true 4G but here comes 5G? I’d call it 3.5.1G at best.

  2. This 5G scam is just a way to make users reach the data cap faster and justify higher prices. With this new technology customers will reach the point where their service is throttled even sooner, freeing up capacity to lure new suckers. Contrary to statements by other posters capacity will never exceed demand by any significant margin in the US as long as providers are allowed to promise service they can’t provide while penalizing and vilifying customers for exceeding data caps they are constantly changing and forcing on customers for continued service.

  3. Well, it would make a mockery of the current data caps if you could burn through a gig in a few seconds.

    1. Data pricing has been falling. Verizon last year even changed it for people under contract. That will probably continue.

      And if 5G is also about increased capacity, that trend will probably continue (and possibly put downward pressure on DSL and cable pricing too).

      1. I agree, and it’s a good thing. The wireless companies can get away with monetizing bandwidth at the moment because demand and capacity are not too far apart at the moment. Once the capacity increases far beyond supply, which it will at some point for existing technologies (how much 4k video will people watch on their mobile phones? Answer: not much), the wireless companies are going to have a hard time imposing any sort of meaningful tiered data pricing.

  4. There is no 5G and there won’t be by 2016 or 2017, it’s all BS to con the consumer, just using the term today is false advertising and they should be fined for it.
    5G is more like 2020 and if the carriers get the upper hand we are gonna get screwed hard.Their goal is to charge for every bit of data through any kind of wireless connection.

    1. I agree. The industry perpetuated the scam starting with 4G (or maybe even earlier). They were able to “persuade” the standards bodies that LTE as was implemented, which was only a partial implementation of the real 4G (known also as LTE-A) Even HSPA was “accepted” as being 4G, a laughable situation. So the public was sold a bill of goods, because end users buying a fixed bucket of data for a month, sufficient for CDMA EVDO or GPRS/EDGE could zip through that allocation in a matter of hours or even minutes using LTE. And then what was theend user to do until the next billing cycle came along? Even Verizon’s so-called XLTE or Sprint’s Spark still isn’t a full implementation of LTE-A, only performing the band aggregation part.

    2. I wholeheartedly agree, the US carriers did this kind of scam before with calling HSPA connections 4G.

      HSPA is just Multichannel UMTS, which is GSM 3G, so everyone else in the world either still called it 3G, or 3.5G, since it was based on the same tech.

    3. The whole 1G, 2G, 3G, …, NG thing is just marketing in the first place and doesn’t have much relationship with the underlying technology they supposedly label.

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