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Verizon opens four 5G Labs, makes 5G call

Verizon will be opening 5G labs in Los Angeles, Palo Alto, Washington DC, and Waltham in addition to its New York City lab, with the carrier also announcing a successful 5G call with Ericsson and Qualcomm.

Verizon has announced that it will be expanding its 5G Labs to four new locations across the United States, with Los Angeles, Washington DC, Palo Alto, and Waltham to gain facilities that will be focused on developing and testing 5G technologies and use cases.

The labs will launch by the end of 2018, and will be kitted out with live 5G networks to help startups, universities, and tech companies to collaborate with Verizon.

"Our 5G Labs will be where collaboration and innovation happen. We're opening access to our 5G network, because we believe the next-generation solutions that will ride on it will be the result of collaboration and innovation by an entire ecosystem of developers," Verizon SVP of Strategy, Innovation, and Product Development Toby Redshaw said.

The four new labs will join the New York City-based 5G Lab launched in December last year, which the carrier said has already aided tech and academic partners in developing and testing 5G solutions across remote healthcare, education, cloud gaming, and mixed reality.

According to Verizon, its New York City 5G Lab will focus on media and finance tech; the Los Angeles lab will work across augmented reality (AR) and holograms; the Washington DC lab will work on public safety, first responders, cybersecurity, and hospitality tech; the Palo Alto lab will look at emerging technologies, education, and big data; and its Waltham, Massachusetts, lab will focus on robotics, healthcare, and real-time enterprise services.

Ahead of Mobile World Congress Americas (MWCA) in Los Angeles this week, Verizon also announced the "first ever" 5G call across a commercial network using a simulated smartphone with Ericsson and Qualcomm, after the latter two companies demonstrated the capability in Sweden last week.

The 5G call, performed in Minneapolis, Minnesota -- where Verizon has an advanced mobile network -- used 39GHz millimetre-wave (mmWave) spectrum, an Ericsson mmWave radio and non-standalone Option 3x core, and a Qualcomm test device with a Snapdragon X50 5G modem and RF subsystem.

"This latest demonstration is significant because it took place over commercial 5G NR network equipment to a test device in the form factor of the handheld devices our customers will eventually use on our 5G network," Verizon vice president of Technology Development and Planning Bill Stone said.

Verizon had in February also announced making the first over-the-air call on 5G using mmWave spectrum, Nokia equipment, and a prototype device from Qualcomm.

The latest 5G followed Verizon last week trialling 5G in Washington DC with Nokia, transmitting a mobile signal to a test van.

"We said Verizon will be first to 5G, and our latest milestone moves us closer to fulfilling that promise," Stone said last week.

Verizon and Nokia had last month also transmitted a 5G signal between two radio sectors to a moving vehicle, calling the successful trial a "major 5G milestone". The moving vehicle test, conducted at Nokia's Murray Hill, New Jersey campus, again utilised 28GHz mmWave spectrum and two 5G new radios, as well as a vehicle fitted with a receiver and a device to measure the connection.

Verizon last month announced that it will be bringing its 5G network to Indianapolis by the end of 2018, with the city joining Sacramento, Los Angeles, and Houston in the carrier's roadmap.

The carrier's 11 pre-commercial 5G trial networks -- in Sacramento; Ann Arbor, Michigan; Atlanta, Georgia; Dallas and Houston, Texas; Miami, Florida; Seattle, Washington; Washington DC; Bernardsville, New Jersey; Brockton, Massachusetts; and Denver, Colorado -- were deployed throughout 2017.

Verizon has been additionally improving its LTE networks, in October adding Massive Multiple-Input Multiple-Output (Massive MIMO) technology across its wireless network in Irvine, California, increasing network capacity and speeds for customers in partnership with Ericsson.

Verizon and Ericsson in July further announced an expansion of their 4G LTE partnership, with the Swedish networking giant to deploy its 4G and 5G-ready radio system across multiple US markets.

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