Verizon 5G is built on millimeter wave (mmWave) frequencies, which are incredibly fast, but have limited coverage, not being able to pass through solid objects. Therefore, Verizon’s next generation 5G network is currently limited to high-traffic areas, whilst rural regions in the US have been missing out.
However, Verizon plans to make huge improvements to its 4G service in rural areas, whilst continuing to invest heavily in 5G in more densely populated areas.
4G for rural areas
CEO Ronan Dunne told TechRadar at CES 2020 that Verizon plans to bring 5G to busy public areas, and expand coverage on top of 4G. So, for those who visit stadiums, airports and cities, they can enjoy super-fast mmWave 5G.
But you don’t have to only be in packed areas to enjoy super-fast internet, thanks to the roll-out of Dynamic Spectrum Sharing (DSS) technology this year. Essentially, this allows those with a 5G phone to get high-speeds outside of mmWave areas, by using lower frequency bands associated with 4G. This allows a 5G-like service to operate on the 4G spectrum.
Verizon believes 4G LTE, also known as ‘advanced 4G’, is probably fast enough for those in more remote areas, and will continue to build out its current network. Currently, Verizon has only built out LTE across 60% of its possible spectrum, so there’s still potential for major network improvements over the coming months and years, Dunne told TechRadar.
Whilst Verizon is confident in this plan, other carriers are more dedicated to rolling out 5G nationwide, including rural areas. For example, T-Mobile has been rolling out both super-fast mmWave 5G alongside lower-band 600 MHz 5G. The lower-band option provides a larger coverage, but at slower speeds. This allows the company to cover a wide area with 5G but offers different speed options.