Verizon’s 5G speeds to increase ahead of schedule.

Verizon's 5G speeds to increase ahead of schedule.

Verizon Surprises Customers with Early Access to C-Band Spectrum, Boosting 5G Network Speeds

Verizon, one of the leading wireless carriers in the United States, made an exciting announcement on Monday. They revealed that they had gained access to the highly sought-after C-band spectrum four months ahead of schedule. This valuable spectrum was acquired by Verizon in 2021 and was initially expected to be fully available to the carrier by the end of this year.

The early access to the C-band spectrum is a game-changer for Verizon’s network. It allows the carrier to significantly improve the speeds it offers to devices connected to its midband 5G network. Once deployed and connected to a compatible phone or device subscribed to a suitable plan, Verizon’s network will be capable of delivering download speeds exceeding 2 gigabits per second.

It’s important to note that these speeds are based on areas where Verizon has 161 megahertz of spectrum bandwidth available, which is the amount they aim to have nationwide on average. In areas where Verizon can leverage 200MHz of bandwidth, particularly in mostly rural areas, the speeds could even be higher. While speeds might be slightly lower in areas with less than 161MHz available, Verizon expects to have a minimum of 140MHz of total spectrum across the contiguous United States.

To utilize the C-band network, users must have a compatible wireless plan. Verizon has labeled this enhanced network as “5G Ultra Wideband.” These plans typically fall on the higher end of the carrier’s pricing spectrum, such as their new Unlimited Plus offering, or older plans like Do More, Play More, Get More, Above, or Beyond unlimited options.

As for devices, a software update will be necessary to access the improved, faster connection. Verizon has stated that updates are already in progress for existing products to tap into the network upgrade. Although a specific list of devices eligible for the update and the timeline for release has not been provided, Apple’s iPhone 12 and Samsung Galaxy S21, along with most major devices sold over the past year, already offer support for Verizon’s C-band network. Some phones have already received the update, enabling them to take advantage of the faster speeds, and customers can expect to see the impact of this bandwidth increase in the coming days and weeks.

Verizon has made significant strides in expanding the accessibility of its C-band network, now available to 222 million people nationwide. The carrier has set a goal of covering 250 million people with the network by 2024. This midband spectrum, like the C-band, is highly regarded for its ability to offer faster speeds than 4G LTE and “5G Nationwide” (low-band 5G). It strikes a balance between coverage area and speed, making it a critical piece of the wireless airwaves puzzle.

Verizon’s plans with the additional C-band spectrum extend beyond just boosting speeds for current and future devices. They also aim to offer 5G home and business internet in 47 new markets, expanding their coverage of homes in areas where their 5G home broadband product is already available. While specifics regarding these markets have not been disclosed, Verizon’s commitment to expanding its 5G ecosystem further reflects its dedication to providing cutting-edge connectivity solutions.

In 2021, Verizon invested a significant amount, close to $53 billion, in securing the C-band spectrum through a Federal Communications Commission (FCC) auction, which set a record with total bids amounting to $81 billion. This spectrum had been previously utilized by satellite companies, and Verizon expedited the acquisition process by reaching agreements with these incumbents. The FCC has set a deadline for all incumbent C-band holders to clear the spectrum by December 5, 2023.

Verizon’s competitors, AT&T and T-Mobile, also acquired some C-band spectrum in the same 2021 auction. AT&T has already deployed a portion of its C-band for its midband 5G network. It remains unclear whether these carriers have also gained early access to the rest of their respective spectrum or if they will need to wait until later this year to augment their 5G networks. ENBLE has reached out to both AT&T and T-Mobile for comment and will update should they respond.

Verizon’s unexpected early access to the C-band spectrum is a significant achievement that will benefit their customers and solidify their position as a leading provider of 5G services in the United States. With faster speeds and expanded coverage, Verizon is demonstrating its commitment to staying at the forefront of technological advancements and providing superior connectivity experiences for its users.

Read more: Understanding 5G’s Many Names and Types


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