Verizon will go for T-Mobile’s jugular with massive 5G Ultra Wideband expansion ‘this month’

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Verizon will go for T-Mobile's jugular with massive 5G Ultra Wideband expansion 'this month'

After a couple of years of betting on the wrong horse in the race to 5G supremacy by aimlessly trying to get mmWave technology off the ground, Verizon is finally ready to… start making up some of the lost ground to T-Mobile that’s becoming more and more evident in all of those independent market reports and speed tests.

While Magenta is likely to continue flaunting industry-leading availability stats for its Ultra Capacity 5G network for years to come, Big Red has a large number of its own to tout today – 100 million people.

Verizon’s C-band rollout is ahead of schedule

If you’re still confused about the different 5G flavors floating around the US, the easiest way to understand what Verizon is cooking up remains T-Mobile’s layer cake metaphor.
The only problem is that the nation’s big three wireless service providers have begun conflating the top and middle layers, with Verizon subscribers, for instance, soon looking at a choice between a “nationwide” 5G signal based entirely on sluggish low-band spectrum and a blazing fast 5G Ultra Wideband network combining mmWave with C-band technology.

Despite the two carriers’ initial refusal to delay their key T-Mobile mid-band-rivaling 5G deployments, said launches were ultimately pushed back two weeks to give authorities a little more time to try to “substantially reduce disruptions to air operations.”
Curiously enough, the January 19 rollout date revealed by President Biden himself in an official White House statement earlier today is not mentioned in Verizon’s latest press release, which instead keeps things vague by teasing the “addition of C-band” to the 5G UW network “later this month.”
Even if the carrier were to only meet its 100 million expansion target on, say, January 31 as opposed to the 19th, that would still be “well ahead of the commitment” made last year. Fearful not to overpromise and underdeliver (yet again), Verizon had originally set a much more conservative goal of (theoretically) covering 100 million people with speedy C-band technology by the end of this year’s first quarter.

The specifics are sadly up in the air… for now

On the bright side, Verizon is vowing to publish an updated “map of mobility coverage at launch”, when we’ll also find out exactly what devices will support C-band speeds “up to 10x faster than 4G LTE.”

While common sense suggests all of the carrier’s current mmWave-equipped phones will be allowed to take advantage of the expanded 5G Ultra Wideband power, it might be safe to wait for a full and official list, especially if you own an older handset.

Even those in possession of the latest 5G-enabled flagships from Samsung or Apple should probably wait until they receive a software update of sorts to then try to squeeze “incredible” speeds of “up to one gigabit per second” outside of stadiums and metropolitan areas.
Because the T-Mobile comparisons are inevitable, we’d be remiss not to highlight that the 100 million people in “1,700-plus cities” that Verizon aims to cover with a 5G Ultra Wideband signal “this month” is still a pretty long way from the 200 million people that could already access Magenta’s Ultra Capacity 5G service as of November 2021. 

Naturally, the “Un-carrier” is setting its sights even higher, planning to boost that number to 250 million in 2022 and 300 million (!!!) by 2023, which is something Verizon and AT&T are unlikely to ever achieve with their current spectrum resources.



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