Verizon said today that it plans to have 5G Ultra Wideband service available to 100 million people in more than 1,700 cities nationwide in January. The announcement came on the heels of the news that wireless carriers had reached an agreement with the aviation industry to begin offering 5G service in the C-band on January 19, 2022.
Verizon Ultra Wideband Expansion
Verizon uses the brand Ultra Wideband for 5G service deployed in the millimeter wave band and in the C-band, both of which support relatively high speeds. Millimeter wave spectrum supports the highest speeds but over relatively short distances.
Until now Verizon has had 5G available only in the millimeter wave band, and in low-band spectrum, where the carrier is seeing speeds comparable with earlier-generation LTE service.
The C-band is considered mid-band spectrum, which is widely viewed as offering the optimum mix of speed and coverage.
Today’s press release notes that Verizon expects to turn up C-band service this month.
The press release cites “typical download speeds of 90-170 Mbps with higher speeds and peaks over 1 Gbps in certain areas” for Ultra Wideband, which suggests that the carrier expects to rely on C-band service to achieve speeds at the lower end of that range and millimeter wave service to achieve speeds above 1 Gbps.
Verizon paid top dollar for C-band spectrum in last year’s historic auction, including spectrum scheduled to be available December 5, 2021.
Any plans to promptly turn up service around that date were delayed when the aviation industry expressed concerns about possible interference with equipment used on commercial airplanes. Initially wireless carriers agreed to a one-month delay, which was subsequently extended two weeks until the opposing parties came to an agreement Monday night.
In a prepared statement, FCC Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel noted that the agreement “provides the framework and the certainty needed to achieve our shared goal of deploying 5G swiftly while ensuring air safety.”
According to Rosenworcel, the FCC, DOT, FAA, aviation industry and wireless carriers worked together “to share data, bring together technical experts and collaborate in good faith to ensure the coexistence of wireless and aviation technologies.”
In addition to supporting mobile service, Verizon also plans to use the C-band spectrum to support the company’s 5G Home fixed wireless offering.
New Verizon Wireless Plans
As part of its 5G Ultra Wideband expansion news, Verizon also announced several new wireless plans, scheduled to be available tomorrow. For mobile users, the company launched three plans, called 5G Get More, 5G Play More and 5G Do More. For fixed users, the company launched a new 5G Home plan, as well as a 5G Home Plus plan.
The company also noted that 5G Ultra Wideband is available for business owners with Business Unlimited Plus and Pro mobile plans.
At press time, the Verizon website did not yet appear to have been updated with details and pricing for the new plans.