Verizon’s plans to join rural US in a 5G era

The Verizon 5G network is set up on high-speed but small-area millimetre wave (mmWave) frequencies, and its growth throughout 2019 was restricted to cities – leaving it uncertain if, or at what time, rural US will get the next-gen network.

The response: not any time shortly, unluckily, for the most distant users. But Verizon does have a plan to advance service to its users who aren’t located in dense urban areas. According to Verizon consumer wireless group CEO Ronan Dunne, the carrier’s aims are to deliver 5G in public areas and increase its coverage on the top of the 4G spectrum.

If you like meeting with your fellow humans en masse, the carrier will continue to cover stadiums, public areas and airports with mmWave 5G, which it sees as bringing into line with the ‘follow the traffic’ philosophy. That way, sports fans can get latest about their fantasy teams or bets with less delays, while folks can still speed-download media in queue while they’re waiting to enter their aeroplane.

For those who have bought a costly 5G phone, Verizon is making out benefits – even past its 5G network radii – when it ultimately deploys its Dynamic Spectrum Sharing (DSS) tech throughout 2020.

DSS theoretically lets customers’ 5G devices to even get some high speeds while outside the mmWave coverage area by capably surfing on lower (including 4G) bands of the frequency spectrum. When Verizon defines its ‘nationwide 5G,’ this is what they indicate: providing 5G on top of the 4G spectrum.

4G rural customers will get… more 4G

For someone not in a 5G or DSS traffic nexus, Verizon believes its 4G LTE will be sufficient for regular use, and will continue to build out its current current-gen network to complement its more distant customers and promote adoption of Unlimited plans.

Presently, Verizon’s only built out LTE across 60% of its possible spectrum, so there’s more scope to move across, Dunne mentioned.

This runs counter to other carriers’ plans, of course, which are providing 5G on dedicated higher frequencies. T-Mobile 5G claims both mmWave (in the 28 GHz and 39 GHz) and lower-band (600 MHz) frequencies, using the second for wider-ranging but lower-speed coverage. Thus, its coverage map grows over a far greater area, though it doesn’t account for the variances in speed between these networks.

When Sprint fits its own mid-band (2.5 GHz) frequencies, T-Mobile will have a wide range certainly for numerous applications and different tiers.

That doesn’t match in Verizon’s plan, as Dunne isn’t self-assured that mid-band frequencies alone are able of sustaining 5G service. But if a mid-band frequency were to open up, he said, the carrier may be attracted – but it would have to be at the correct price and make financial sense to be worth the expense of adding another frequency range into its current 5G plans.


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