Verizon began its 5G launch, in 4 U.S. cities, on its 28 GHz high-band (millimeter wave) spectrum in 2018, which it brands as “5G Ultra Wideband”. By the end of 2019, Verizon had expanded its 5G Ultra Wideband network coverage to 31 U.S. cities. Indeed, Verizon today announced that it has met its goal for 2020 by having 61 cities with 5G Ultra Wideband coverage on high-band spectrum.
Specifically, Verizon has increased its millimeter wave spectrum deployment to 800 MHz (i.e., 8 channels of 100 MHz), across most of its covered cities. Overall, in high-band, Verizon holds 2,000+ MHz of spectrum depth in the 24 GHz, 28 GHz, 37 GHz, and 39 GHz frequencies.
Cities with Coverage of Verizon’s 5G Ultra Wideband
Verizon currently services 61 Cities with 5G Ultra Wideband coverage. These cities have been grouped into five regions across the United States. See below for the comprehensive list of Verizon 5G Ultra Wideband coverage:
- Northeast: Baltimore, Boston, Hartford, Hoboken, Jersey City, New York City, Philadelphia, Providence, Syracuse, Washington, D.C.
- Southeast: Atlanta, Charlotte, Durham, Greensboro, Hampton Roads (Richmond and Norfolk), Little Rock, Louisville, Memphis, Miami, Nashville, Panama City, Raleigh, Richmond, Sarasota, St. Petersburg, Tampa
- Midwest: Akron, Ann Arbor, Chicago, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Columbus, Des Moines, Detroit, Fort Wayne, Grand Rapids, Indianapolis, Kansas City, Milwaukee, Minneapolis, Omaha, Sioux Falls, St. Louis, St. Paul
- Southwest: Albuquerque, Arlington, Dallas, Houston, Oklahoma City, Phoenix, Tucson
- West: Anaheim, Boise, Denver, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Salt Lake City, San Diego, San Francisco, San Jose, Spokane
In-Building 5G Ultra Wideband Network Coverage
In-building coverage is another important component to Verizon’s 5G Ultra Wideband strategy. Indeed, Verizon also announced that 5G Ultra Wideband now covers 48 stadiums & arenas and seven airports in the U.S.
In terms of sporting venues, Verizon 5G Ultra Wideband service is available in 17 NFL stadiums across the United States. Furthermore, Verizon 5G Ultra Wideband service is also available in 7 additional hockey and basketball stadiums throughout the country.
Indeed, Verizon considers stadium coverage an important offering because these buildings are dense urban environments where thousands of devices simultaneously connect to the 5G network. Therefore, the capacity that high-band 5G can cope with is critical to allow these stadiums to have optimal connectivity.
Verizon’s Low-Band and Mid-Band 5G Deployments
Beyond, high-band 5G, Verizon has also deployed its low-band 850 MHz 5G spectrum. Indeed, in October 2020, Verizon reached nationwide coverage, meaning 200 million points-of-presence in the United States, on its 850 MHz 5G spectrum. As part of today’s announcement, Verizon now covers 230 million people in the United States, with its low-band 5G spectrum.
Verizon will also be buying significantly more mid-band spectrum for 5G purposes. Specifically, C-band spectrum. Indeed, Verizon is expected to spend $25bn to buy more mid-band spectrum in the C-band auction, which is taking place in December 2020.
Verizon’s Digital Infrastructure Need
Verizon’s digital infrastructure foundation is built off of its tower footprint consisting of 66k tower sites. Specifically, Verizon’s towers broadcast the carrier’s 850 MHz low-band spectrum.
Additionally, Verizon is aggressively deploying fiber across the United States. This is because fiber is the backbone for 5G services. Specifically, the carrier’s fiber deployment now extends to more than 60 cities. Moreover, this fiber deployment is increasing as Verizon is building, on average, 1,400 route miles of fiber per month.
Small Cells and Distributed Antenna Systems
In order for Verizon to have 61 cities with 5G Ultra Wideband coverage, the carrier deployed 5x more small cells, as compared to 2019 (i.e., 5k to 10k small cells). Indeed, Verizon is using these small cells to expand the number of cities it services with high-band 5G. At the same time, small cell deployments also expand Verizon’s coverage area within its existing 5G Ultra Wideband cities.
Small cells are the critical piece of digital infrastructure broadcasting high-band (i.e., Ultra Wideband) frequencies for 5G in dense urban areas. Furthermore, the same phenomenon occurs in densely packed NFL, NBA, and NHL stadiums. Indeed, Verizon also deploys its 5G Ultra Wideband in stadiums. However, in these indoor venues, distributed antenna systems (DAS) are the digital infrastructure providing connectivity.