By Mike Robuck
US operator Verizon entered into agreements with satellite providers for early clearance of C-band spectrum which will enable it to offer its 5G ultra-wideband service in 30 more cities this year on at least 60 MHz of spectrum and up to 100 MHz of spectrum in some areas.
Verizon is targeting Atlanta, Baltimore, Washington and Denver, among other cities, for C-Band deployments.
The additional C-Band spectrum, which the company acquired in the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) C-Band auction in 2021 from Intelsat and SES, was previously scheduled to be released in December 2023. The early clearance puts added pressure on Verizon’s 5G competitors AT&T and T-Mobile US.
Verizon committed close to US$53 billion on the spectrum, including the purchase price and cost of reimbursing satellite service providers for clearing the frequencies.
After several delays due to the aviation industry’s concern C-Band could interfere with radio altimeters on aeroplances, Verizon and AT&T started using their C-Band spectrum in January.
Earlier this month, Verizon set a goal of covering 175 million people with its ultra-wideband 5G network (incorporating C-Band spectrum as well as very high-band mmWave spectrum) by the end of the year, up from 100 million at end-January.
Verizon CFO Matt Ellis told an investor conference in early March the operator’s C-Band network had garnered usage of between 5 per cent and 15 per cent while touting benefits such as quality of experience along with increased coverage.
Ellis stated the C-Band network was delivering peak data rates of around 900Mb/s and Verizon expects to break the 1Gb/s mark when the spectrum is paired with its other holdings.