Earlier this year, Verizon and T-Mobile began rolling out 5G service in C-band, a mid-band frequency that offers faster speeds over farther distances. Verizon is now preparing an update that could make C-Band even better.
Verizon announced today that it has begun deploying 100 MHz of C-band spectrum “in many US markets.” The update is significant because, until now, Verizon’s 5G C-band has been limited to 60 MHz, which limits the amount of data that can be transmitted. Verizon says the upgrade “allows us to support more network traffic, deliver even better performance to our customers, and add new products and services on top of the mobile and fixed wireless access solutions we offer today.”
C-Band is a range of wireless frequencies (3.7GHz-4.2GHz), used by both Verizon and AT&T to enhance 5G coverage. Before C-band, 5G connectivity was limited to millimeter wave (mmWave) and sub-6 GHz, which were not perfect solutions: mmWave has an extremely short range, while sub-6 GHz is often no faster than 4G. or LTE.
C-Band has better range than mmWave and is typically faster than sub-6 GHz in actual use, so it’s been a massive upgrade for 5G subscribers on AT&T and Verizon. T-Mobile started rolling out mid-band 5G in 2020, which behaves similarly to C-Band, which is why the carrier has had a head start on its rivals in rolling out 5G. Verizon says it was able to hit a peak download speed of 1.4 Gbps on enhanced C-band spectrum while close to a cell tower, dropping to 500 Mbps “further away from towers.”
The upgrade will benefit many of the best Android phones and iPhones, but Verizon also hopes the additional bandwidth will provide more reliable service for its home Internet subscribers. In addition to C-Band, Verizon is testing 5G deployment on shared mid-band frequencies, which could provide more speed boosts in the future.