Verizon’s long-term ambitions to (potentially) overtake T-Mobile in terms of 5G coverage may have gotten a big boost earlier this week with the long-awaited announcement of the big winners in the FCC’s biggest ever spectrum auction, but in the short term Big Red will have to continue touting the controversial benefits of mmWave technology.
Of course, the 5G Ultra Wideband network itself is pretty awesome, delivering insane speeds that T-Mo’s low and medium band signals will never be able to come close to. The problem is that so few of the many people subscribed to the nation’s largest wireless service provider can actually achieve those download (and upload) numbers, let alone maintain a 5G UW connection for more than a few seconds indoors or even while taking a walk in the park.
For what it’s worth, Verizon does seem determined to keep up the mmWave ad charade, characterizing its network rollout so far as “aggressive” in a press release announcing the expansion of this “transformational service” to three new cities.
Of course, 5G Ultra Wideband access is now only available in “parts” of Sacramento, Seattle, and Pensacola, and ominously, Big Red doesn’t bother to list the “parts” where eligible customers might get lucky in the future. The provider also no longer seems to keep count of mmWave-supported cities, although the current count is pretty easy to calculate if we look back last month.
Verizon claimed in early January that it closed last year with Ultra Wideband service available in (parts of) 61 cities, adding Colorado Springs, CO, Columbia, SC, and Knoxville, TN to the list before also spreading the love to the three previously mentioned places.
Until Big Red will be able to challenge the excellent balance of 5G speeds and availability provided by Magenta on mid-band spectrum acquired from Sprint, its customers will essentially have to settle for either a spotty but blazingly fast mmWave signal or a “nationwide” low-band DSS network offering LTE-comparable speeds.
Not surprisingly, this nationwide 5G service is available in Sacramento, Seattle and Pensacola (among many other places), with no effort required to switch from Ultra Wideband to DSS when the former signal would be unreachable.
Verizon proves it has a sense of humor by referring to its 5G expansion efforts as “aggressive”