Verizon can be proud of a lot of things, starting with how its truly nationwide 4G LTE network still beats T-Mobile’s rapidly spreading low-band 5G signal in terms of download speeds in many places, but when it comes to Big Red’s own 5G deployment, the situation is pretty complicated.
The latest such city to join the 5G Ultra Wideband party is San Diego
, where the blazing fast cellular service is “initially” available in “parts of” Mission Valley near Westfield Mission Valley and SDCCU Stadium, Linda Vista along Linda Vista Road, Kensington near El Cajon Blvd, and in Banker’s Hill on 1st Avenue.
A small step forward for an inherently flawed network
All the usual warnings and disclaimers obviously apply, as obstacles of any sort (including trees and even humans) are likely to block the high-band 5G signal even in those aforementioned spots, instantly downgrading you to 4G LTE speeds.
Don’t forget you’ll also need a 5G UW-supporting smartphone, with the list of currently available devices including the likes of Samsung’s Galaxy S20+
, S20 Ultra
, and yes, “regular” S20
, as well as the LG V60 ThinQ
, Motorola Edge+
, OnePlus 8
, and Galaxy Note 10+
. Speaking of lists, it’s important to note San Diego officially brings the number of cities partially covered by Verizon’s 5G connectivity up to 35, which the carrier seems to be happy with.
In fact, Chief Technology Officer Kyle Malady is “happy to report”
Big Red is “ahead of plans right now in the 5G in the United States”, which makes us wonder if the operator truly planned wisely for its first year or so of 5G rollouts. After all, 35 may not sound like such a bad number, but 36 is actually a very embarrassing one.
According to T-Mobile, that’s how many square miles Verizon’s crazy fast 5G network covered before San Diego was added to the aforementioned list, which compares very poorly to the more than 1 million square miles covered by Magenta’s much slower 600 MHz spectrum
Playing catch-up to an underdog turned trendsetter
Meanwhile, Big Red continues to insist its rollout strategy is the only way to “build 5G right”, declaring the company’s satisfaction with how it’s been able to “figure out ways” to remove roadblocks created by the coronavirus pandemic in the last couple of months.
Verizon claims it’s “still on plan” with all “strategic initiatives so far”, although Malady was not particularly keen to share details on future expansions of the carrier’s commercial 5G services. A little over a month ago, the nation’s top mobile phone operator reiterated its promise to have 5G Ultra Wideband technology up and running in a total of 60 markets by the end of 2020
, and if the company’s rollout is indeed ahead of schedule, we can hope to see that number exceeded in the next six months or so.
More importantly, however, we’ll be sure to keep an eye on those low-band developments, as well as mid-band spectrum tests
, which could prove crucial for Verizon’s long-term hopes to rival T-Mobile as far as offering usable 5G for the masses is concerned.