Ookla speed test shows 5G C-band is already game-changing

New information from Ookla offers us an excellent take a look at why Verizon and AT&T had been in such a rush to launch their new C-band 5G spectrum.

It isn’t even been two weeks for the reason that two carriers rolled out the brand new midband 5G frequency, and Ookla is already seeing a major enhance in 5G speeds throughout the nation. These pace jumps have the potential to oust T-Cellular because the entrance runner within the 5G race.

Network speed test displayed on the smartphone.

After a frenzied dispute with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the broader aviation trade, Verizon and AT&T started rolling out new C-band spectrum on January 19, creating dramatic efficiency enhancements for his or her 5G clients. promised.

Verizon made the boldest declare of all, saying it would use the brand new spectrum as a part of its 5G ultra-wideband service, which is able to broaden to cowl greater than 100 million individuals in additional than 1,700 cities. Verizon’s 5G ultra-wideband service initially solely used very high-frequency (and low-range) mmWave expertise, which allowed carriers to ship extremely quick speeds, however solely in sure main city facilities.

In the meantime, AT&T has taken a extra conservative method, launching its new C-band spectrum in solely seven cities: Dallas/Fort Price, Houston and Austin in Texas; Jacksonville, Orlando and Miami in Florida; and Chicago and Detroit.

Why is the C-band necessary?

The rollout of latest C-band spectrum guarantees to repair a lot of the mess within the 5G panorama within the US by permitting carriers to ship true 5G speeds to their clients.

Beforehand, each AT&T and Verizon had been restricted to low-frequency spectrum, sharing house with their 4G/LTE networks utilizing a expertise known as Distributed Unfold Spectrum (DSS). The end result was that no provider was capable of present nationwide 5G speeds that had been higher than 4G. The truth is, some reviews urged that clients had been higher off utterly disabling 5G on their smartphones and staying on their provider’s 4G/LTE service.

The one exception to this was T-Cellular, which already had a wholesome chunk of midband spectrum resulting from its 2020 merger with Dash. This allowed the provider to get a head begin on its rivals, quickly rolling out spectrum to greater than 200 million clients as a part of its Extremely Capability 5G service.

outcomes up to now

Because of its early lead, T-Cellular has persistently held the primary spot in 5G efficiency, protection, and reliability, however that will quickly change.

A brand new report from Ookla means that T-Cellular’s rival is closing the hole simply days after it rolled out the change to new C-band spectrum.

Line graph showing T-Mobile, Verizon, and AT&T's changes in 5G performance in January 2022.

Extra importantly, Verizon’s common nationwide efficiency jumped almost 52 p.c over the week of January 19, when its new C-band service went dwell for the primary time, breaking the 100Mbps barrier. Many Verizon clients additionally noticed the “5G UW” icon on their smartphones for the primary time, which in all probability additionally fueled the spike in testing by individuals on Verizon.

Whereas AT&T noticed no significant progress nationwide, Ookla did report vital progress within the particular cities the place the provider deployed its C-band service. For instance, AT&T clients in Austin, Texas skilled a 12 p.c enhance in common obtain speeds.

billions of funding

Earlier final yr, three US carriers spent billions to choose up a big chunk of this new C-band spectrum at public sale, with Verizon breaking a file $45.4 billion for its share, adopted by AT&T. 23.4 billion and T-Cellular fell to $9.3. Arab.

Even the preliminary public sale was controversial, with the FAA warning that the brand new C-band frequencies had been dangerously near these utilized by crucial plane devices resembling radar altimeters. Nonetheless, the Federal Communications Fee (FCC) went forward with the public sale.

The carriers deliberate to start rolling out the brand new C-band spectrum on December 5, 2021, however agreed to push again that schedule twice, first to January 5, 2022, after which lastly to January 19. Nevertheless, the latter delay got here solely later. Some intense deliberation, the direct involvement of White Home officers, and an implicit promise by President Joe Biden that there shall be no additional delay.

Nonetheless, it seems that billions of {dollars} and months of funding is already paying off, particularly for Verizon and its clients. Ookla notes that if Verizon continues its aggressive C-band rollout, it might give T-Cellular a run for its cash till Ookla publishes its subsequent Speedtest International Index market evaluation.

Nevertheless, we nonetheless should not rely AT&T out. Regardless of its sluggish begin, the provider plans to make use of its C-band with a portion of the low-frequency 3.45–3.55GHz spectrum later this yr. These frequencies can be a lot much less controversial for deployment round airports, as they’re properly away from the 4GHz+ spectrum which might adversely have an effect on aviation tools.

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