What you need to know
- Verizon's faster C-band 5G will only be available for its premium customers.
- The carrier recently bid more than $45B in the C-band spectrum auction.
- This is the complete opposite stance than rival T-Mobile, making its complete 5G network available to all of its customers.
The 5G wars continue to rage on, and carriers are finding new ways to integrate the growing network into their business. Verizon has recently confirmed how it plans to offer its C-band (mid-band) spectrum that it just bought into its data plans, which will, unfortunately, leave lower-paying customers out of luck for faster 5G speeds.
According to CNET reporter Eli Blumenthal, Verizon plans to reserve access to its C-band spectrum for its higher tier customers:
Verizon confirms that to access C-Band you will need a premium unlimited plan like its Play More, Do More and Get More. If you have an older plan you'll only have access to its DSS "nationwide" 5G, not this newer and faster flavor. https://t.co/JH1uTixZaIVerizon confirms that to access C-Band you will need a premium unlimited plan like its Play More, Do More and Get More. If you have an older plan you'll only have access to its DSS "nationwide" 5G, not this newer and faster flavor. https://t.co/JH1uTixZaI— Eli Blumenthal (@eliblumenthal) March 10, 2021March 10, 2021
It's not surprising that the carrier would save its expensive new 5G spectrum for its higher-paying customers, given that Verizon just spent more than $45B to secure it. It's a strategy that differs greatly from its closest rival, T-Mobile, which has been vocal about making its 5G network available to anyone with a 5G-compatible device. T-Mobile has already begun deploying its own mid-band spectrum thanks to the recent merger with Sprint, giving it the benefit of faster speeds with wider coverage.
Meanwhile, Verizon expects that its premium data plans will continue to fuel its growth, reaching 50% adoption by 2023.
As for devices, Verizon also stated in its Investor Day presentation that every 5G phone it sells from now on would be compatible with the new C-band spectrum. Some of the best Android phones like the Samsung Galaxy S21 and Google Pixel 5 are already compatible. Verizon's announcement also opens up better 5G access for some of the best cheap Android phones that will arrive this year.
Verizon plans to spend an additional $10B on deploying its C-band spectrum over the next three years. The company expects as many as 7000 cell sites to be equipped with the new spectrum this year. Of course, in order to take advantage of Verizon's C-band benefits, you'll need to spend more for its best 5G plans.
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Derrek is a long-time Nokia and LG fanboy who loves astronomy, videography, and sci-fi movies. When he's not working, he's most likely working out or smoldering at the camera.