Verizon plans to use dynamic spectrum sharing (DSS) to facilitate their wider rollout, but this will sacrifice speed
Verizon’s CEO Hans Vestberg was quick to temper expectations regarding the company’s nationwide 5G network, which it is scheduled to deliver later this year.
Currently, Verizon’s limited 5G deployments operate using the ultrafast mmWave spectrum. This allows them to deliver 5G speeds greater than 1 Gbps, but only to a very limited area, since this spectrum is particularly short range and struggles with penetration.
These qualities make it an excellent choice for densely populated areas with high demand, but make this spectrum unsuitable for a wider rollout.
Instead, Verizon’s nationwide rollout will be achieved by making use of dynamic spectrum sharing (DSS), a new technology that will allow 4G and 5G users to essentially operate on the same slice of spectrum.
Making use of its existing 4G low-band spectrum will greatly enhance Verizon’s ability to deliver 5G, but it will not be able to support anywhere near the soaring speeds of mmWave.
In a J.P. Morgan investor conference on Tuesday, Vestberg urged patience when it came to Verizon’s nationwide capabilities, saying: "In the beginning you’re going to see some improvements [compared to 4G]. Over time: Dramatic improvements."
DSS itself is still a developing technology and perhaps this is a key factor in Vestberg’s decision not to provide a specific date for the nationwide 5G switch on, simply telling the audience that it would take place later this year.
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