Verizon has been heavily promoting its 5G network, even with a new television campaign starring actor Samuel Jackson. Yet today, the country’s largest carrier tweeted on Verizon Support’s Twitter feed that subscribers who have battery life issues should turn on LTE. In other words, Verizon says you should turn off 5G if you want to save battery life. Although the tweet is no longer available, The Verge posted a screen grab of the tweet.
The carrier wrote in the tweet, “Notice your battery draining faster than normal? One way to save battery life is to turn on LTE. Just go to Cellular > Cellular Data Options > Voice & Data and tap LTE.” Verizon isn’t saying to turn off 5G, but by turning on LTE, you’re turning off 5G. Ironically, if you’re using Verizon’s nationwide 5G network instead of Ultra Wideband service, you may find that your download speed is higher when LTE is enabled. That’s because Dynamic Spectrum Sharing (which allows 4G LTE and 5G to share spectrum) connects those outside Verizon’s mmWave 5G high-band service to low-band 5G. And low-band 5G can deliver slower download speeds than 4G LTE.
This is not something that is just Verizon’s problem. Low-bandwidth 5G may cover greater distances and penetrate structures better, but it hardly delivers the high data rates consumers expect from 5G. That’s why there is so much demand for mid-band spectrum, and it explains why there was recently a record $81 billion bid for C-band spectrum auctioned by the FCC. Verizon spent over $45 billion for 3,500 licences and AT&T paid over $23 billion for 1,600 licences. T-Mobile spent only $9 billion for 162 licences, but that’s because the company acquired a lot of mid-band 2.5 GHz spectrum for $26.5 billion with its acquisition of Sprint.
The mid-band spectrum acquired in the auction also includes frequencies in the 3.7GHz-3.98GHz range and in many cases will not be available until later this year. That means Verizon and AT&T subscribers may continue to experience disappointing 5G speeds in some areas for the rest of the year. T-Mobile’s acquisition of Sprint has already given the country’s second-largest carrier a head start in using mid-band airwaves for 5G.
Verizon says if you have this problem, turn off 5G