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Verizon will accelerate rural 5G service this year.

Photo: Verizon

Verizon 5G rural users may experience speed increases later this year. During its quarterly results conference this week, the telecom giant announced plans to expand its C-band 5G network to include rural and suburban locations by December 2023.

The expansion’s regions remain unknown. Verizon CEO Hans Vestberg stated on the results call that 70 of the 406 accessible markets had C-band 5G service, largely in urban and suburban areas. Vestberg remarked, “330 markets left; we will get the C-band. He didn’t say how many of these markets will be covered by the network expansion later this year, but he affirmed that most installations would focus on suburban and rural regions.

Verizon needs a C-band spectrum for rural development. C-band can cover a wider area with fewer cell towers than mmWave but can’t match its speed. However, it’s quicker than Verizon’s 5G installations and penetrates buildings better than mmWave.

Verizon won 140–200MHz of C-band spectrum in all 406 US markets, 158 of which are “mostly rural,” at a 2021 Federal Communications Commission auction for $45.4 billion. The purchase set Verizon up to serve approximately 250 million people with C-band spectrum by “2024 and beyond” via its 5G service. However, most licensed spectrum was already in use and must be cleared before reallocation.

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