Dgtl Infra provides you with the latest spectrum holdings for United States carriers, based on their weighted average portfolio in MHz. Carriers in this summary include: Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile US, DISH Network, and U.S. Cellular. Additionally, we include the spectrum holdings of Comcast, SiriusXM, Charter, and Cox.
This analysis is comprehensive, as shown by the product image. Specifically, this summary covers carrier’s low-band (e.g., 600 MHz), mid-band (e.g., CBRS and C-band) and high-band (e.g., 24 GHz) spectrum holdings.
What is Spectrum and Why is it Important?
Spectrum is the lifeblood of the wireless industry. In order to build a fully operational 5G network, United States carriers need to have three layers of spectrum. Specifically, these include low-, mid- and high-band. Low-band is typically the first layer of coverage, as it provides much better coverage than mid- and high-band frequencies. Low-band is comprised of 4G/LTE frequencies that are re-farmed to be used in 5G through dynamic spectrum sharing. In the middle, are sub-6 GHz, mid-band frequencies such as 3.5 GHz, a global standard. Finally, millimeter wave spectrum bands comprise ultra-wide frequencies that are typically 24 GHz and higher.
Ultimately, all frequency bands will be part of 5G. Indeed, this means that United States carriers will be able to leverage their full spectrum portfolio and coverage capabilities. Carriers will have to combine their low-, mid- and high-band spectrum in order to deliver users the performance that they expect. Whether it is for video streaming, or advanced enterprise cases.
United States Carriers Deploying 5G Spectrum in a Layer Cake
The combined channels of low-, mid- and high-band spectrum together is what is known as a “layer cake“. Specifically, the layer cake is critical for the type of 5G services that customers can use on a ubiquitous basis nationwide, in urban, suburban, and rural environments. Indeed, it is the combination of low-, mid- and high-band spectrum that enables more capacity and an increase in speeds for customers.
For nationwide coverage of the United States, the only way for carriers to implement 5G is through the layer cake approach to spectrum. Firstly, low-band covers broad geographies and penetrates building well. Secondly, the populous areas use mid-band. Thirdly, when it becomes very dense, high-band / millimeter wave (mmWave) covers areas such as inside stadiums and event locations.