Verizon average 5G speeds have increased substantially since the company launched service covering 100 million people in the C-band earlier this year, according to new research from Opensignal.
AT&T, which has rolled out 5G C-band service only in portions of eight markets, has seen virtually no impact on its average 5G speed, according to Opensignal. AT&T plans to deploy its C-band spectrum more broadly at the same time that it deploys service in its newly acquired 3.45-3.55 GHz spectrum, Opensignal explains.
Previously AT&T and Verizon had rolled out 5G service in millimeter wave bands, which support the highest speeds but over relatively short distances, and in low-band spectrum, which provides good coverage but offers little or no speed advantage over previous generation networks. C-band spectrum is considered mid-band spectrum, which stakeholders see providing the optimum mixture of speed and coverage for 5G.
T-Mobile began deploying 5G using its own mid-band spectrum two years ago and now covers between 210 million and 230 million people with it. Accordingly, the company still has much higher average 5G speeds than either of its two major U.S. competitors.
While T-Mobile’s 5G speeds average between 160 and 200 Mbps, Verizon’s have not yet hit 80 Mbps and AT&T’s average speeds are around 50 Mbps, according to Opensignal.
Mid-Band 5G Speeds Compared
Even when only mid-band 5G speeds are compared, T-Mobile comes out ahead – on the downstream at least.
T-Mobile’s average 5G downstream speed using mid-band spectrum was 225.5 Mbps data for the period of January 19-March 19, 2022, according to Opensignal, in comparison with 211.8 Mbps for Verizon and 160 Mbps for AT&T.
Opensignal attributes these differences to the differing amounts of mid-band spectrum that the carriers have used for their 5G networks. While AT&T initially had only 40 MHz of mid-band spectrum available and Verizon initially had 60 MHz, T-Mobile had deployed service in as much as 80 MHz of mid-band spectrum as of September 2021.
It’s also worth noting that AT&T and Verizon initially had C-band spectrum available for use only in certain markets where the satellite operators that previously used the spectrum agreed to early clearing. Verizon changed that picture considerably with the news last week that it had reached additional agreements with the satellite operators for early spectrum clearing.
Verizon Tops on MId-band Upstream 5G Speeds
Verizon already has the fastest upstream 5G mid-band speeds by a slight margin. The company’s average upstream 5G mid-band speed was 20.7 Mbps in comparison with 18.5 Mbps for AT&T and 18.2 Mbps for T-Mobile. Opensignal didn’t speculate about why this occurred.
Overall, increased availability of 5G in mid-band spectrum is good news for mobile users, Opensignal notes.
“Opensignal data shows that 5G download speeds are already much faster – three to four times [faster] – when connected to mid-band 5G on AT&T and Verizon compared to the average 5G download speeds our users experienced on the two carriers before they activated their C-band networks,” Opensignal explains in a blog post.
“Although AT&T and Verizon are still in the early stages of their mid-band 5G rollouts, these results are indicative of the improvement that users can look forward to in the coming years as the two carriers expand their mid-band 5G deployments.”