Verizon executives revealed its network roadmap for 2024 involved preparing new standalone (SA) 5G products and services along with more functional testing of open RAN.

SVP of network planning Adam Koeppe told Mobile World Live it took a methodical approach to building its SA 5G network, because it needs to have the same quality and performance levels as its virtualised core which supports the next-generation technology along with 4G.

Verizon applied lessons learned from building its cloud-native 5G core and its cloud deployments to build the standalone network, but acknowledged there had been many development cycles so it “does what it’s supposed to do”.

He said there would be more discussion about Verizon’s SA 5G core “over the next few months as we bring more and more customers on to the network”.

Koeppe noted when the core network, device ecosystem and RAN are SA 5G capable, Verizon will be able to deliver compatible network slicing services.

“You can create, basically, a virtual network tunnel to ensure that the use case gets the type of performance it needs to be successful.”

“You’ll see and hear a lot more about network slicing as the use cases get proven”.

Verizon conducted various network slicing trials in 2023.

Koeppe explained there are “lot of irons in the fire on the network slicing front”, but said the initial focus for 2024 is on performance characteristics.

He stated it would be up to Verizon’s enterprise and consumer teams to ascertain which use cases are likely to succeed and then launch them.

Koeppe noted reduced capability (RedCap) will ramp IoT use cases and devices, and companies including Qualcomm are building SA 5G-compatible chipsets.

“We feel we’ve been very diligent about keeping our timing aligned with the device proliferation, but some of the use cases require new devices.”

T-Mobile US is currently the only operator in the country to have fully deployed a SA 5G network.

Open RAN update
Verizon seems to have pushed back deployment of open RAN equipment to this year.

Steven Rice, VP of network planning, said its current open RAN radios had largely been deployed in a single vendor environment.

He said there is more work to be done in terms of the performance of open RAN equipment, which Koeppe noted includes “a lot of functional quality testing work”.

Rice said future work “is less about standards and more around continuing to work on interoperability opportunities in a multi-vendor environment and then the overall kind of capability of how you manage the lifecycle in a multi-vendor environment”.