Verizon flaunts C-Band 5G potential
Verizon subscribers in some areas were in line for boosts to their mobile and 5G home broadband speeds in the coming months as the operator turns on more C-Band spectrum across its footprint.
The Mobile Report stated some Verizon customers last week revealed aggregate bandwidth reception of between 100MHz and 160MHz on their phones, with 5G download rates of up to 1Gb/s: this was linked to a move by satellite operator SES to clear C-Band spectrum in early July.
David Wolff, director of network planning at Verizon, noted the additional C-Band spectrum had more than doubled the 5G bandwidth available on its network and tripled it in some cases, though he did not cite SES directly.
He said the additional spectrum will enable Verizon to expand into areas where it lacks licensed access.
Verizon spent $10 billion to accelerate its C-Band deployment: Wolff explained it now has an average of 161MHz across the US, with some markets able to access the full 200MHz.
Wolff explained the addition of more C-Band spectrum means Verizon now has access to the full licensed bandwidth targeted in the auction.
He stated Verizon struck early clearance deals with five satellite service providers, with a final tranche from Intelsat expected “very soon”.
The operator’s RAN deployments have been compliant with the C-Band spectrum since the auction in 2021.
Wolff stated any site with C-Band in place will be able to access the new spectrum through a software upgrade and some configuration changes.
The operator deployed 60MHz of C-Band across 46 markets in 2022 before expanding as more satellite spectrum became available.
In 2022, it set its sights on using 200MHz.
Up to 200MHz of C-Band spectrum will be available in 158 markets, most of which are in rural areas where Verizon competes against cable operators.
Those markets cover nearly 40 million people.
“To me, that’s considerable amounts of additional bandwidth capacity that we’re able to offer to users in those more rural areas,” Wolff said, noting the additional spectrum will also be used across urban areas.
Verizon will also use the new spectrum for its fixed wireless access service across various sports and entertainment venues.
“We’re going to be able to offer greater capacity, higher typical speeds and an overall better experience for our customers in those locations.”
Wolff noted in the 46 markets where C-Band was initially deployed, gross post-paid phone additions in Q2 were more than 100 basis points higher than markets where it wasn’t available, with churn four basis points lower.
“Our customers feel the impact of C-Band and it’s obviously leading to them having a better experience,” Wolff said.