US multiplay telco Verizon recently began installation of C-band equipment from Ericsson and Samsung Electronics to speed deployment of its 5G Ultra Wideband and fixed wireless broadband service on its recently-acquired C-band spectrum.
Verizon secured an average of 161 MHz of C-band spectrum nationwide in the recent FCC auction, which will allow the company to offer expanded mobility and broadband services to millions more consumers and businesses. C-band spectrum provides a valuable middle ground between capacity and coverage for 5G networks, and will enable 5G Ultra Wideband speeds and coverage for both mobility, home broadband and business internet solutions. Deploying 5G Ultra Wideband on this spectrum requires new network equipment including basebands, radios and antennas to be placed on existing towers.
Verizon selected Ericsson and Samsung to supply the Radio Access Network (RAN) equipment for the large-scale deployment. Although the initial spectrum won’t be cleared until the end of 2020, Verizon and its vendor partners have already begun the work to ensure the super-fast 5G Ultra Wideband service using C-band is deployed to 100 million customers by March 2022.
“We’re moving fast, with cooperation from our equipment partners, to have everything in place as soon as this C-band spectrum is cleared for use,” said Kyle Malady, Chief Technology Officer at Verizon. “This is a massive undertaking designed to add this game-changing capability as quickly as possible to the network our customers already rely on for consistent, superior performance when they need it most.”
In the first quarter of 2022, Verizon expects to put into service the new 5G C-band spectrum in the initial 46 markets and to provide 5G Ultra Wideband service to 100 million people. Over 2022 and 2023, coverage is expected to increase to more than 175 million people and by 2024 and beyond, when the remaining C-band spectrum is cleared, more than 250 million people are expected to have access to Verizon’s 5G Ultra Wideband service on C-band spectrum.
Verizon’s spectrum bands are contiguous, which will streamline deployment across the mainland United States. Also helping to speed deployment are the recently-signed and announced agreements with Verizon’s tower partners, Crown and SBA Communications, which provide for process improvements including standardising and reducing forms and minimising legal reviews, allowing Verizon engineering teams to expedite deployment of C-band equipment. Both agreements establish terms for leasing space on existing towers for C-band equipment.