Verizon 5G Home coming to Florida Panhandle

As leading U.S. operators AT&T and Verizon continue to develop their commercial 5G plans, both carriers marked milestones last week with Big Red naming Panama City as the fifth city that will get its fixed wireless residential broadband service, and AT&T debuting the device that will support its 12-city commercial launch by the end of the year.

Verizon’s fiber network in the Florida Panhandle suffered “unprecedented” damage when Hurricane Michael hit the area. The recovery process was marked by Verizon crews repairing cut fiber just to have it cut again by officials and residents cleaning up storm debris. The pace of the recovery was publicly criticized by U.S. Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai and Florida Gov. Rick Scott.

With its network back up and running, Verizon announced it will invest $25 million in Bay and Gulf counties, which includes Panama City. Verizon’s Kyle Malady said the investment will result in “the most technologically advanced wireless network in the area. We look forward to working with the area’s public officials, businesses and economic development organization, educational institutions, first responder and the companies and customers who will benefit.” 5G Home is currently available in Houston, Indianapolis, Los Angeles and Sacramento.

AT&T’s mobile 5G launch device is the Netgear Nighthawk 5G Mobile Hotspot

AT&T plans to launch a mobile 5G service in a dozen markets by the end of the year. This is a standards-based service whereas Verizon’s fixed wireless service is based on its Verizon Technical Forum standard; carrier executives have said the network will be quickly upgraded to equipment based on the 3GPP standard.

The operator has conducted extensive 5G testing, including in Waco, Texas, which played host last week to what the company described as “the world’s first millimeter wave mobile 5G browsing session with a standards-based device on a mobile 5G network.” Ericsson provided the network infrastructure and the launch device, previously referred to by AT&T execs as a “puck,” is Netgear’s Nightwak 5G Mobile Hotspot; the device uses Qualcomm’s Snapdragon X50 modem.

David Christopher, president of AT&T Mobility and Entertainment, called the browsing session “a seminal moment…This proves we are well on our way to the promise of mobile 5G for consumers.”


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