After years of hard work, Verizon (NYSE: VZ) has beaten the competition and hit the “on” switch for commercial 5G internet.
On October 1st, the company officially became the first major ISP to launch a 5G home internet service.
No doubt that’s a huge development for the entire tech industry, but it’s also just the start. 5G stands to change the mobile landscape in a profound way, just as every generation of wireless connectivity before it has in its own way.
Before 2G, very few people foresaw that cell phones would be used to download images.
Before 3G, not many folks guessed that mobile devices would be used for downloading music and video.
And before 4G, almost no one knew how popular HD streaming would become.
Similarly, most people today have no idea what kinds of technologies 5G is going to enable…
Think back to a decade ago when you had a mere flip phone and the world still wasn’t sure about that whole “iPhone obsession.” Now look at your smartphone and reflect on just how much modern computing has advanced.
Could you have even imagined that you’d be ordering taxis through an app, communicating with friends and family face to face, or unlocking your phone with your face?
Ultimately, many of the incredible functions exhibited by today’s leading smartphones are made possible by 4G cellular coverage. Computing power in the palm of your hand is one thing, but getting that powerful computer to talk to other computers wirelessly is something else entirely.
Imagine a world where you’re able to connect with your friends and loved ones constantly. A world where cloud storage of ALL your work is essentially guaranteed to be seamless — no longer something you need to initiate.
With Verizon’s October 1st announcement, that day is quickly approaching.
It was Clayton Harris, a humble resident of Houston, Texas, who will forever be known as the first “5G human.” He was the first of many Verizon members who now have 5G Home, the world’s first and currently only 5G Ultra Wideband Network.
Simply put, Clayton now has wicked-fast internet Wi-Fi throughout his house. He’ll be streaming his favorite Netflix shows at a typical network speed of 300 megabits per second (Mbps), with the possibility of reaching nearly 1 gigabit per second, all with no data caps.
For context, Singapore has the fastest average internet download speeds in the world at 60.39 Mbps, according to a recent survey by M-Lab.
Where’s the U.S. on the list? Way down in the 20th slot, with average download speeds of just 25.86 Mbps.
Taking the lead in the race for 5G coverage is a good thing for Verizon. 5G Home customers are now sporting average download speeds 12x faster than the U.S. average and 5x faster than those of our Singaporean neighbors.
Internet speeds like this aren’t necessary for the world to keep streaming Netflix happily, but they are VERY necessary for a host of technological innovations.
This week’s announcement means Verizon will be at the forefront of a technological innovation that stands to:
- Make internet connectivity as commonplace as electricity, i.e., it will just “be there.”
- Usher in the “Internet of Things” age, where all of us will own dozens of smart devices including watches, fridges, virtual headsets, and even clothing.
- Make ultra-high definition television possible. If you thought the picture on the NFL game was great, you ain’t seen nothing yet…
This means Verizon not only has bragging rights but will also be able to iterate and learn from these technologies long before anyone else.
It’s not hard to imagine cable providers, which have slowly morphed from entertaining us to acting as gatekeepers to the internet, going even further in the latter direction.
In a study by MarketsandMarkets, it was estimated that the global 5G services industry will grow from its current $54 billion to $123 billion by 2025. The main beneficiaries of this growth will be — that’s right, you guessed it — companies like Verizon.
Simply put, the world will demand more and faster data transfers, and ISPs will be able to command top dollar to provide it.
Right on Schedule
The simple truth is that while Verizon is the first to land 5G home internet, the whole industry will eventually offer 5G coverage. AT&T plans to offer 5G wireless in select cities later this year, and T-Mobile’s John Legere has promised nationwide 5G coverage by 2020.
Industry players and investors looking to get in on the action will need to act fast. The technology to make the internet “just there” nationwide is being tested and installed right now. Make no mistake: The stage is being set.
American consumers will be the biggest winners of all. 5G won’t just mean seamless connectivity to your favorite streaming shows and YouTube; it also stands to make things like automated driving and vocal AI a reality.
For more on the emergence of 5G coverage and how to position your portfolio for the next communications revolution, be sure to check out our free presentation here.
Fortune favors the bold,