Verizon said yesterday that it has completed successful lab trials using 200 MHz of spectrum in the C-band to provide “remarkable” 5G speeds and performance. The company also said it has deployed more than 8,000 virtualized cellsites.
Verizon C-Band Plans
To date, Verizon has deployed 5G in just 60 MHz of C-band spectrum but, according to a press release, the company plans to begin using up to 200 MHz per market over “the next few years.”
The company was the biggest winner in the C-band auction, spending $45 billion to obtain between 140 MHz and 200 MHz of spectrum in every market nationwide. The band traditionally had been used by satellite operators for video content distribution, but those operators agreed to move to a portion of the band and share in the proceeds from the auction of another portion of spectrum in the band.
Verizon’s C-band deployment plans are limited by how quickly the satellite providers can move out of the band. The company won spectrum subject to early clearing in 46 markets and has made additional deals with the satellite operators to clear additional spectrum prior to the December 2023 deadline set by the FCC.
The C-band spectrum is strategically important to Verizon because it is mid-band spectrum, which is seen as supporting the optimum mixture of speeds and coverage for 5G.
T-Mobile got an early lead on its chief competitors Verizon and AT&T when it deployed 5G using 2.5 GHz spectrum throughout a large part of the U.S. Initially Verizon’s and AT&T’s 5G deployments were in higher-frequency millimeter wave spectrum, which supports the highest speeds but over relatively short distances, or in low-band spectrum, which provides excellent coverage but at lower speeds.
AT&T subsequently began deploying 5G using mid-band spectrum, but Verizon had to wait until the C-band auction to add substantial mid-band spectrum to its holdings. Verizon first rolled out service in the band at the beginning of this year.
Verizon VRAN Plans
Verizon VRAN plans call for the company to deploy over 20,000 virtualized cell sites by 2025.
According to the company, “the move to a cloud-based virtualized architecture with standardized interfaces in every part of the network leads to greater flexibility, faster delivery of services, greater scalability and improved cost efficiency.”
The company noted, for example, that certain 5G use cases will rely heavily on the programmability of virtualized networks. Use cases cited included supporting IoT devices and augmented reality.
Additional information about Verizon’s C-band plans can be found in this press release.
Additional information about the company’s VRAN plans can be found in this separate press release.