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Verizon, AT&T Expect New Generation of 5G by Early 2020

Each of the carriers has targeted Cleveland as an introductory market for its early 5G services and is putting millions of dollars toward building next-generation systems for customers in the Ohio city.

by Robert Higgs, Advance Ohio Media / June 21, 2019

(TNS) — The nation’s two largest mobile phone carriers are racing to build 5G networks in Cleveland – with each expecting to launch their service around year’s end.

The so-called fifth generation of cell-phone technology, 5G promises data speeds 50 to 100 times faster than 4G LTE networks.

Verizon expects its network will go live in Cleveland before the end of 2019. AT&T says its network will be live early in 2020.

Dan Williams, a spokesman for Mayor Frank Jackson, said the city is willing to work with any company looking to develop the technology in Cleveland.

So far, Verizon and AT&T are the only carriers building systems in Cleveland, according to Jackson’s administration.

Each carrier has targeted Cleveland for early 5G service. Each is investing millions of dollars building systems in Cleveland.

Verizon has launched new 5G networks in Minneapolis and Chicago. AT&T has announced 5G services in parts of 19 cities. It also is marketing 5GE, which it describes as a stepping stone to 5G service but is not true 5G.

New handheld 5G-capable devices are gradually coming on to the markets, too.

Industry experts have predicted that 5G could become a new cord-cutting option for almost 90 million U.S. households that now get broadband, phone and TV via cable or satellite.

In December, AT&T CEO John Donovan told an audience at the Blockland Solutions conference in Cleveland that development of 5G networks could be essential to developing the “Internet of Things,” a reference to the network of smart devices all connected. Developing 5G could provide the structure for it to run on, he said.

The new high-speed networks are built on much smaller cells than current cellular systems.

Gone are the giant cell towers that can provide coverage over large areas. Small “towers” are positioned in places such as lamp posts, creating a faster system in a much more refined area, said David Weissmann, a Verizon spokesman.

“It definitely looks different than what we’re used,” Weissman said.

The two companies are by far the largest of the cellular carriers.

In March, each reported having about 155 million service subscribers. The next two largest, T-Mobile and Sprint, reported having a combined total of about 135 million subscribers.

Earlier this month, AT&T pledged to spend more than $350,000 in Cleveland to promote digital literacy through a program dubbed Believe Cleveland.

The Urban League of Greater Cleveland, Cuyahoga Community College and nonprofit Digital C each will get $100,000 to support efforts such as job readiness workshops and tech training programs and identifying neighborhood internet needs.

The company says it plans to donate another $55,000 to other Cleveland organizations.

“With the impact of 5G technology, there is an expectation that digital literacy and technology-based learning will someday improve,” Jackson said in a statement. “Believe Cleveland is a necessary investment that will benefit everyone in our community.”

©2019 Advance Ohio Media, Cleveland. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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