Earlier this year, Verizon and T-Mobile started deploying 5G service on C-Band, a mid-band frequency that offers faster speeds at farther distances. Verizon is now preparing an upgrade that could make C-Band even better.
Verizon announced today that it has started deploying 100 MHz of C-Band spectrum “in many markets across the US.” The upgrade is significant because, until now, Verizon’s C-Band 5G has been limited to 60 MHz — limiting how much data could 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 provide today.”
C-Band is a range of wireless frequencies (3.7GHz-4.2GHz), which Verizon and AT&T are both using to enhance 5G coverage. Before C-Band, 5G connectivity was limited to millimeter-wave (mmWave) and sub-6 GHz, which weren’t perfect solutions — mmWave has an extremely short range, while sub-6 GHz often isn’t any faster than 4G or LTE.
C-Band has better range than mmWave, and is usually faster than sub-6 GHz in real-world usage, so it has been a massive upgrade for 5G subscribers on AT&T and Verizon. T-Mobile started deploying mid-band 5G back in 2020, which behaves similarly to C-Band, which is why the carrier has had an edge over rivals in 5G deployment. Verizon says it was able to reach a maximum download speed of 1.4 Gbps on the enhanced C-Band spectrum while standing close to a cell tower, dropping to 500 Mbps “further away from the towers.”
The upgrade will benefit many of the best Android phones and best iPhones, but Verizon is also hoping the extra bandwidth will provide more reliable service for its home internet subscribers. Besides C-Band, Verizon is testing 5G deployment on shared mid-band frequencies, which could provide further speed boosts down the road.