Verizon readied a new international 5G roaming service following a series of trials with LG Uplus in South Korea, but noted its launch must wait for compatible handsets to become available.
The operator said it recently conducted 5G voice, messaging and data trials using a prototype device capable of tapping mmWave spectrum for service in the US and 3.5GHz spectrum in South Korea. Testing yielded average data rates of 252Mb/s in the downlink and 119Mb/s up.
A Verizon representative told Mobile World Live commercial 5G roaming is ready to go from a network standpoint, with compatible handsets “coming soon”. Access will be included in the cost of its existing international plan.
Verizon CTO Kyle Malady said in a statement “the globalisation of 5G has huge implications across countless industries for consumers and enterprises,” noting its partnership with LG Uplus marked “an important first step” toward realising this potential.
He added the operator is pursuing roaming deals in additional countries, with a focus on “strategic partnerships with international providers who, like Verizon, are leading the 5G evolution”.
The move could make Verizon the first US operator to offer international 5G roaming: in June, rival T-Mobile US struck a domestic roaming deal with Alaskan operator GCI, in a bid to offer customers 5G service in parts of all 50 states.
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