Verizon believes that by 2020 half of the U.S. will have 5G wireless service and intends to roll out its own 5G service to more than 30 cities by the end of the year.
Verizon CEO Hans Vestberg told CNBC that by 2024 half of the population will also have a 5G smartphone as companies including Verizon upgrade the software for 5G proliferation and more 5G base stations and small cells are deployed to expand coverage.
Earlier this year, Verizon went live with its 5G network in Chicago and Minneapolis and later expanded service to Denver, Providence, Rhode Island, and St. Paul, Minnesota. Even more recently, Verizon added 5G services to Washington, D.C., Atlanta, Detroit and Indianapolis.
Other cities that will go live this year include Boston; Charlotte, North Carolina; Cincinnati, Cleveland and Columbus, Ohio; Dallas; Des Moines, Iowa; Houston; Kansas City, Missouri; Little Rock, Arkansas; Memphis, Tennessee; Phoenix; San Diego; and Salt Lake City.
So far, all of these cities have limited coverage, generally in highly populated areas. Once outside the limited 5G coverage zone, users would be “handed off” to Verizon’s 4G network as the technology currently uses non-standalone equipment, which carries both 5G and 4G LTE connections.
Vestberg said that 5G is accelerating faster than when 4G was introduced and believes the technology will evolve more quickly and improvements will be rolled out faster in the coming months and years.