The wireless giant and the smartphone manufacturer plan to help one another.

February 27, 2019

4 Min Read
Samsung Galaxy S10 on Verizon

By Jeffrey Schwartz

Samsung and Verizon are finding mutual benefit in launching their respective 5G products and services together.

While Verizon is the largest wireless carrier in the U.S. in terms of subscribers and has laid the groundwork for delivering its 5G services for several years, it has disclosed less than its nearest rivals about when and where its commercial 5G services will become available. Samsung gave Verizon a boost by giving the carrier an exclusive window to offer its new Galaxy 10 5G phone, when it arrives this summer.


Verizon CEO Hans Vestberg speaking to investors in New York City.

The Galaxy 10 5G is Samsung’s first 5G phone, launched among three other Galaxy 10 models and the new Galaxy Fold, a tablet with hinges that folds into a phone, at its Unpacked event last week in San Francisco. Samsung’s new 5G phone will initially be available only from Verizon and its channel partners, though ultimately AT&T, T-Mobile and Sprint will be able to offer it this fall.

Verizon used the Samsung Galaxy 10 5G launch, and its exclusive distribution window, as a staging ground to elaborate on its own network rollout plans.

“It’s just amazing that finally were standing here at the brink of bringing 5G to the market,” said Verizon CEO Hans Vestberg, speaking at the Samsung event. “Our Verizon customers are going to be the first to get the 5G phones in their hand.”

Less than, 24 hours later, Verizon hosted its first investor day for analysts in seven years. At the event, held in New York, Vestberg and his senior executive team outlined the carrier’s strategy, including its planned rollout of 5G in at least 30 U.S. markets this year.

Here’s our most recent list of new products and services being offered by agents, VARs, MSPs and other channel partners.

While Verizon didn’t reveal which markets will be the first to have 5G service, company officials said they will only announce availability in an area once that market has full coverage, not just a handful of base stations.

“When I talk about 30 markets or more, those are real markets that will be open for sale,” said Ronan Dunne, EVP and group president of Verizon wireless, during his presentation at the investor event.

Verizon hasn’t disclosed pricing, nor did Samsung didn’t reveal how much customers will pay for its new 5G phone. While Verizon gets first dibs on offering the Samsung 10 5G, it won’t be the carrier’s first 5G phone. Motorola will be the first with its new Moto z3 paired with a the 5G Moto Mod, a peripheral component that runs a Qualcomm Snapdragon X50 5G modem.

Neither company said why Samsung was giving Verizon the exclusive nod.

“It raises questions about who’s going to be best equipped to handle 5G early this summer and maybe they looked into it and they felt like it was Verizon,” said Bob O’Donnell, president and chief analyst of Techanalysis Research.

Other than partners prototyping solutions, it remains to be seen how many customers will opt for presumably more costly 5G phones in the near term. Steve Shaffer, CEO of IT services provider Zunesis, said while he’s looking forward to rollout of 5G services and devices, it’s hard to get too excited when …

… the availability of wide coverage areas that conform to the 3GPP 5G standards, and pricing information becomes more apparent.

“A big part of what gets factored into the solutioning equations is what exactly the price will be,” Shaffer said. “How do we extrapolate what the customer costs are going to be at this point?”

At the annual Mobile World Congress conference in Barcelona this week, Verizon said it intends to lead in 5G wireless. As the carrier readies its 5G mobility services, Verizon in October started offering 5G Home, a residential broadband service priced at $50 per month, in isolated parts of Houston, Sacramento, Los Angeles and Indianapolis.

Rival AT&T, a close No. 2 behind Verizon in terms of overall wireless subscribers, has promoted its 5G plans for some time, but has come under fire for its 5G Evolution service, which rivals complain is misleading because it’s actually a turbocharged, propriety 4G service. Sprint earlier this month filed a lawsuit against AT&T, claiming it’s confusing the market.

Verizon said that it sees revenue from its 5G mobility and 5G home services starting to scale next year and providing “meaningful growth” in 2021. The company also said it plans to roll out its Mobile Edge Computing platform for real-time enterprise applications in the fourth quarter of this year.

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