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Verizon and Other Cellular Companies Promise Ultra-fast Internet Services

T-Mobile and Sprint want to jointly create a 5G network that would also offer residential wireless broadband, but not for a few years.

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This April 23, 2018, file photo shows the logo for Verizon above a trading post on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange. Cellular companies such as Verizon are looking to challenge traditional cable companies with residential internet service that promises to be ultra-fast, affordable and wireless. Using an emerging wireless technology known as 5G, Verizon’s 5G Home service provides an alternative to cable for connecting laptops, phones, TVs and other devices over Wi-Fi. It launches in four U.S. cities on Monday VOA
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Cellular companies such as Verizon are looking to challenge traditional cable companies with residential internet service that promises to be ultra-fast, affordable and wireless.

Using an emerging wireless technology known as 5G, Verizon’s 5G Home service provides an alternative to cable for connecting laptops, phones, TVs and other devices over Wi-Fi. It launches in four U.S. cities on Monday.

Verizon won’t be matching cable companies on packages that also come with TV channels and home phone service. But fewer people have been subscribing to such bundles anyway, as they embrace streaming services such as Netflix for video and cellphone services instead of landline.

“That’s the trend that cable has been having problems with for several years, and a trend that phone companies can take advantage of,” Gartner analyst Bill Menzes said.

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Internet companies support an economy-wide, national approach to regulation that protects the privacy of all Americans. VOA

That’s if the wireless companies can offer a service that proves affordable and effective.

T-Mobile and Sprint are also planning a residential 5G service as part of their merger proposal, though few details are known.

Verizon’s broadband-only service will cost $70 a month, with a $20 discount for Verizon cellular customers. According to Leichtman Research Group, the average price for broadband internet is about $60, meaning only some customers will be saving money.

Even so, Verizon can try to win over some customers with promises of reliability.

Verizon says its service will be much faster than cable. That means downloading a two-hour movie in high definition in two minutes rather than 21. The service promises to let families play data-intensive games and watch video on multiple devices at once, with little or no lag.

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A man explores social media on a computer at an internet club in Islamabad, Pakistan,VOA

“The things that really matter to a customer are how fast it is and how reliable it is,” longtime telecom analyst Dave Burstein said. In tests of Verizon’s 5G so far, he said, “reliability is proving out quite nicely.”

Verizon could also capitalize on many people’s frustration with their cable companies. Consumer Reports magazine says customers have long been unhappy with perceived weak customer service, high prices and hidden fees.

The residential 5G service is part of a broader upgrade in wireless technology.

Verizon has spent billions of dollars for rights to previously unused radio waves at the high end of the frequency spectrum. It’s a short-range signal, ideal for city blocks and apartment buildings, but less so for sprawling suburbs or rural communities. That’s why Verizon is pushing residential service first, while AT&T is building a more traditional cellular network for people on the go, using radio waves at the lower end.

AT&T is aiming to launch its 5G mobile network this year in 12 cities, including Atlanta and Charlotte, North Carolina. Dish also has plans for a 5G network, but it’s focused on connecting the so-called “Internet of Things,” everything from laundry machines to parking meters, rather than cellphones or residential broadband.

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Retired teacher Margarita Marquez, 67, uses the internet after it was recently installed at her home in old Havana, Cuba, Dec. 29, 2016.
(VOA)

Sprint tried to introduce residential wireless service before, using a technology called WiMax, but it failed to gain many subscribers as LTE trumped WiMax as the dominant cellular technology. This time, Verizon is using the same 5G technology that will eventually make its way into 5G cellular networks.

The Verizon service will start in parts of Houston, Indianapolis, Los Angeles, and Sacramento, California.

“These are small areas but significant,” said Ronan Dunne, president of Verizon Wireless. “Tens of thousands of homes, not hundreds of thousands of homes.” Eventually, Verizon projects 30 million homes in the U.S. will be eligible, though there’s no timeline.

For now, Verizon isn’t planning to hit markets where it already has its cable-like Fios service. Verizon stopped expanding Fios around 2010, in part because it was expensive to dig up streets and lay fiber-optic lines. Verizon can build 5G more cheaply because it can use the same towers available for cellular service.

That said, Verizon might not recoup its costs if it ends up drawing only customers who stand to save money over cable, said John Horrigan, a broadband expert at the Technology Policy Institute.

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FILE – Students surf the internet in their dorm room at Wesleyan University in Middletown, Conn., April 24. (VOA)

And while Verizon says the new network will be able to handle lots of devices at once, anyone who’s tried to use a phone during concerts and conferences will know that the airwaves can get congested quickly.

What Verizon’s service won’t do is extend high-speed internet access to rural America, where many households can’t get broadband at all, let alone competition. Cable and other companies haven’t found it profitable to extend wires to remote parts of the country. But Verizon will face the same problem, given that its short-range signal will require several wireless towers closer together. That’s feasible only in densely populated areas.

That’s not good enough, said Harold Feld, senior vice president of the advocacy group Public Knowledge. He said internet service at reasonable prices is “fundamental” for all Americans — not just those who live in populated areas.

Also Read: California’s Net Neutrality Law Causes A Law Suit From The US Government

T-Mobile and Sprint want to jointly create a 5G network that would also offer residential wireless broadband, but not for a few years. In seeking regulatory approval, the companies say 20 percent to 25 percent of subscribers will be in rural areas that have limited access to broadband. But the companies offered no details on how they would do so. T-Mobile and Sprint declined to comment. (VOA)

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800 Mn Smartphone Users In India By 2020: CISCO Study

The report added that India will be a major driver of this with the total number of Internet users reaching 840 million

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India currently has over 400 million smartphone users and over 700 million feature phone users. Image: Pixabay

The number of smartphone users is expected to double to 829 million by 2022 from 404.1 million in 2017, projects a new Cisco report.

This proliferation of smart devices will propel India’s per capita data consumption to nearly 14 gigabytes (GB) by 2022 from 2.4 GB in 2017, according to Cisco’s latest “Visual Networking Index (VNI)” report.

“By 2022, the smartphone data consumption will increase by five time in India — which proves the dominance of smartphones as the communications hub for social media, video consumption, communications, and business applications, as well as traditional voice,” Sanjay Kaul, President, Asia-Pacific and Japan, Service Provider Business, Cisco, said in a statement on Monday.

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By 2022, smartphones will account for 44 per cent of total Internet traffic, up from 18 per cent in 2017.. Flickr

The Internet is made up of thousands of public and private networks around the world. And since it came to life in 1984, more than 4.7 zettabytes of IP traffic have flowed across it.

One zettabyte is approximately equal to a thousand exabytes, a billion terabytes, or a trillion gigabytes.

In India alone, IP networks carried 108 petabytes of data per day in 2017 and are expected to reach 646 petabytes per day by 2022.

This is primarily driven by the growth in the number of smartphone users, said the report.

Twitter, India, Smartphone
Twitter on a smartphone device. Pixabay

By 2022, smartphones will account for 44 per cent of total Internet traffic, up from 18 per cent in 2017.

Also Read: Four Best Aviva ULIP Plans In India 2018

In 2018, PCs accounted for 41 percent of total IP traffic, but by 2022 PCs will account for only 19 per cent of IP traffic, the research showed.

Saying that more traffic will be created in 2022 than in the 32 years since the Internet started, the report added that India will be a major driver of this with the total number of Internet users reaching 840 million (60 per cent of the population) by 2022 from 357 million (27 per cent of the population) in 2017. (IANS)