South Korean repeater maker FRTek is supplying US carrier Verizon with 5G repeaters for 28GHz and 39GHz spectrum, people familiar with the matter told TheElec on Friday.
It was unheard of for a mid-sized company with revenues of around 20 billion won to supply Verizon directly, at least in South Korea, one of the person said, when they are not a big conglomerate like Samsung Electronics. FRTek posted sales of 26.1 billion won.
Earlier, the company said it was supplying 400 million won worth of 5G repeaters (28GHz, 39GHz) to Verizon in the US. This was for testing, ahead of the main supply, the people said. This contract is set to expire in September.
Compatriot repeater maker Solid supplies its goods in the US for the New York subway system and Empire State building but never directly to a carrier there. Solid posted sales of 229.3 billion won last year.
Another South Korean telecom equipment maker, HFR, has supplies its fronthaul equipment to Fujitsu Network Communications, which, in turn, supplies the goods to Verizon. HFR posted in 156.7 billion won in sales in 2019.
US has commercialized mmWave spectrum for 5G. Average download speed on Verizon’s 5G network was double that of 5G networks in South Korea __ which currently only uses sub-6GHz spectrum, according to Opensignal. However, only 0.5% of Verizon subscribers used 5G services. In South Korea, 15% of wireless users accessed 5G networks.
28GHz and 39GHz will likely need more repeaters to amplify coverage compared to the relatively wider reaching 3.5GHz. It remained to be seen on how much Verizon will earmark in its initial investment for 28GHz and 39GHz repeaters, the people said.