- Verizon announced Tuesday that it would roll out its 5G residential broadband network in Houston in 2018, making it the third city in Verizon’s rollout. The city will get fixed 5G this year, as Verizon will roll out mobile 5G in 2019.
- At a press conference, Houston CIO Lisa Kent described the rollout as a “partnership,” and Mayor Sylvester Turner said the company would invest at least $100 million in the city, reports Venture Beat.
- Verizon had previously announced that Sacramento, CA and Los Angeles would be in the initial rollout, which is expected to cover four markets.
Launching in Houston will do nothing to counter criticism from competitor AT&T, which has touted its focus on mid-sized and more diverse cities. Last week, AT&T announced that it would roll out 5G in Charlotte, NC; Raleigh, NC and Oklahoma City, adding that "all Americans should have access to next-gen connectivity to avoid a new digital divide."
Still, Verizon noted in its release that its 5G service will serve five traditionally under-resourced neighborhoods in Houston, part of an initiative from Turner to ensure that new innovations serve the city equally. City officials say the goal is to have mobile 5G around the entire city, making it possible for some city services to be conducted over mobile devices. Although Verizon’s 2018 launch will focus on fixed residential broadband delivered through radio signals, it hopes to have mobile service sometime in 2019.
Carriers are jostling to lead the pack in 5G deployment, which will offer faster speeds for consumers and help support connected infrastructure, smart grids, autonomous vehicles and other smart city initiatives. With last week’s announcement, AT&T has named six of the 12 cities it will launch in by the end of the year. Sprint has announced nine cities — including New York City, Kansas City, MO and Phoenix — as part of an early 2019 launch, and other carriers are trying to develop city partnerships as well, like a deal between CNX and Knoxville, TN to release 5G by the end of March.