If you have a basic Verizon plan, stick with the company’s weak nationwide 5G network – even after the critical C-band spectrum is available online. The company unveiled in a offer to investors and confirm to The edge that C-band frequencies, and their faster speeds, are only available to customers on ‘premium’ unlimited plans. Those on measure or the basic Start Unlimited plan will be transferred to slower low band 5G.
Verizon confirms that you need an unlimited premium plan, such as Play More, Do More and More. If you have an older plan, you will only have access to its DSS ‘countrywide’ 5G, not this newer and faster taste. https://t.co/JH1uTixZaI
– Eli Blumenthal (@eliblumenthal) 10 March 2021
This is essentially how the company treats its ultra-fast mmWave 5G already: customers on the base level unlimited plan do not have access to this network, while Play More, More and Get More Unlimited subscribers do. Customers on measurement plans also have no mmWave access, nor will they have C-band, but they can add access to both for an additional fee.
This is bad news for Verizon customers hoping that C-band will improve the poor performance they see on the company’s nationwide 5G. The network currently uses narrow low-band channels that are not very suitable for 5G, and relies on a technology called Dynamic Spectrum Sharing to accommodate 4G and 5G traffic on the same frequencies. As a result, Verizon’s 5G speeds are closer to 4G – and sometimes even slower.
Verizon was limited by the spectrum it had access to, which is why it spent a lot of money on the recent FCC auction of mid-band frequencies known as C-band. This volume spectrum is ideal for 5G and offers faster speeds than LTE with coverage wider than the limited mmWave. The company offered $ 45.4 billion on C-band licenses – more than double the amount AT & T spent. When these frequencies become available at the end of the year, it should significantly increase the network’s performance.
And that $ 45 billion is just the beginning. Verizon has revealed in its investor presentation that it intends to spend another $ 10 billion over the next three years on the deployment of C-bands, in addition to the expected capital expenditure. This is probably the reason why the company would very much like to have customers pull up to sharpen plans and that it uses the C-band spectrum as an incentive.
Verizon also says that all new phones it sells going forward will be C-band compatible. This is already the case for flagships such as the Galaxy S21 and the iPhone 12 series, but not all budget or mid-range phones in the US are compatible with C-band. This is one less thing that phone buyers should think about when buying a phone from Verizon, but it also simplifies the task of Verizon to address a more expensive plan for you. And if you have one of their basic plans, you may hear that the point of sale is sooner rather than later.