Verizon says customers in “many markets in the US” can get significantly faster 5G speeds, even if they’re not right next to a cell tower. According to a press release on Monday, this is possible because Verizon deploys additional C-band spectrum; for some areas, the carrier now uses 100MHz bandwidth instead of 60MHz. The company says some engineers got blazing fast download speeds of 1.4 gigabits per second when they were “near active mobile sites,” which dropped to a (still very fast) 500 Mbps after being “further away from the towers.” “.
Verizon did not immediately respond to The edge‘s question about how far along the towers’ engineers were when they performed the test.
While people using Verizon’s ultra-broadband network could theoretically get faster speeds, they should do so with millimeter wave technology. However, that technology is only available in a very select number of cities – and even where it exists you should probably basically be able to be within sight of the tower if you want to be able to use it. In theory, C-band will be able to offer better speeds, even if you’re not right next to the cell towers.
Verizon spokesman Kevin King declined to tell The edge exactly where the new spectrum will be activated today, but said the company has “100 MHz spectrum available in the 30 markets” it has been given access to earlier this year. However, the company has some restrictions on where and when it can roll out C-band coverage in the coming year, thanks to its agreement with the Federal Aviation Administration to create buffer zones around airports for aircraft whose equipment may be compromised by cellular signals.
While faster speeds are nice, Verizon also promises some other benefits of the extra spectrum. The company says the 100MHz rollout should give its network the capacity to handle more users and provide enough capacity for things like its 5G home internet.
The company has been promising to deploy more and more of its C-band spectrum for a while after paying billions for the rights to use that ether. Monday’s press release reiterates its plans to expand beyond the 100 MHz it currently uses in some places, to 200 MHz in the future.
But as the company expanded its 5G network, it has also increased prices for some of its plans. Verizon doesn’t exactly correlate those two things — it blames higher fees on “economic conditions” and “cost to meet regulatory requirements.” However, the net effect is that customers don’t exactly get faster speeds for free, even if their plans stay the same. It’s also worth noting that not every Verizon 5G plan will give you access to the ultra-broadband network and 500 Mbps downloads. If you’d like more information on that, you can check out our phone plan guide here.