Verizon commits more than $45 billion to new 5G spectrum

The Federal Communications Commission’s auction of frequencies considered critical for 5G development has ended, and the winners are clear. Not surprisingly, AT&T and Verizon outspent the competition by far: Verizon, through its Cellco Partnership, spent nearly $45.5 billion on the airwaves. AT&T, through AT&T Spectrum Frontiers, spent $23.4 billion.

The third-largest U.S. carrier, T-Mobile, bid the third-largest amount of money, a not insignificant $9.3 billion but far below the investments made by AT&T and Verizon.

“These record-breaking results highlight the demand and critical need for more licensed mid-band spectrum and demonstrate the importance of developing a robust spectrum auction pipeline,” said CTIA CEO Meredith Baker in a statement. Bidders are still under a quiet period, when they are not permitted to publicly comment.

The 280 megahertz spectrum, AKA midband spectrum, was so sought after by the big 5G operators because it is particularly well-suited for 5G networks. Midband spectrum is capable of providing incredible speeds, while also having the ability to penetrate long distances which is critical for coverage.

Here’s how the top five bidders break down by the number of licenses granted:

  • Cellco Partnership (Verizon): 3,511
  • AT&T Spectrum Frontiers LLC: 1,621
  • United States Cellular Corp.: 254
  • T-Mobile License LLC: 142
  • Canopy Spectrum, LLC: 84

With new 5G applications, “the factory of the future” is near

As 5G technology—that is, the fifth-generation wireless network that succeeds 4G, LTE, and 3G networks—continues to expand, it’s become increasingly clear that the advancements are turning into a game-changer. More than 10 times faster than 4G LTE, 5G networks are now commercially available from 140 operators across 60 countries.

Meanwhile, upgrades to 5G are becoming increasingly crucial. The main mobile companies plan to end 3G services soon. AT&T has said it is set to terminate 3G around February 2022. Verizon plans to cut ties with the service toward the end of 2022, while T-Mobile is jumping ship early and says it expects to begin cutting off its 3G network in the latter end of 2021 and to continue the shutoff through the end of 2022.

Best 5G phones under $500: iPhone SE, Pixel 4A 5G

With the launch of its iPhone 12 last year, Apple discounted the 2019 iPhone 11 to $600 and the 2018 iPhone XR to $500. That pricing tier has been popular of late, and many big-time mobile phone-makers offer great new phones in that range. One of them is Google’s Pixel 4A 5G, which joins the Pixel 4A from August 2020.

With so many phones hitting the market, people on a tight budget have more options to choose from. Further, in addition to the new ones, there are plenty of reliable options from 2019 and 2020 still available. The best part: All of them cost about $500 or less. And despite their low prices, budget phones are getting more advanced and pack features akin to a premium phone, like amazing cameras, fast processors, lots of internal storage, a great front camera, and the latest software updates. Further, if you’re willing to buy an unlocked phone, your choices become even broader.

AT&T, Verizon, and T-Mobile all show off 5G speeds over 1gbps at Super Bowl LV

In advance of the Super Bowl, all 3 major US 5G carriers all improved their network in and around the stadium in Tampa, eager to show off their 5G networks to the fans and reporters in town for the game.

Testing results from Global Wireless Solutions (GWS) are now available, and impressively show that AT&T, T-Mobile, and Verizon each exceeded 1 Gbps for peak 5G speeds. Tests used a Samsung Note 20 5G device were conducted at the Gameday Fan Plaza before the start of the game, and inside the stadium before, during and after the game.

Peak 5G speeds, per GWS, at Super Bowl LV versus Super Bowl LIV, as well as the comparison to 5G speeds seen by their testers in 2020:

AT&T: 1.71 Gbps in 2021 vs 878 Mbps in 2020
Verizon: 1.51 Gbps vs 924 Mbps in 2020
T-Mobile: 1.09 Gbps vs 175 Mbps in 2020

Those were the peak speeds, of course, with the average speeds being lower. AT&T managed average 5G throughputs of an impressive 1.26 Gbps, while Verizon’s 5G average stood at 432 Mbps, and T-Mobile at 388 Mbps.

As for the networks themselves, the carriers each have high-band millimeter wave spectrum deployed for 5G in at least some parts of Tampa and the Raymond James Stadium. Verizon invested $80 million in the area ahead of the Super Bowl, and AT&T invested $75 million including FirstNet upgrades. T-Mobile worked to deploy a mix of low, mid and high-band spectrum for 5G to maximize their 5G offering in the area. All of the upgrades and enhancements made by the carriers in Tampa will remain post-Super Bowl!

Qualcomm Targets Markets Beyond Phones With New 5G Chip

The San Diego chip designer is the biggest supplier of modem chips offered for smartphones and other consumer electronics to cellular data networks. Qualcomm is aiming to take advantage of the faster speeds possible with 5G cellular network technology to expand to other markets.

The newest chip, called the X65 modem, is Qualcomm’s 4th series of 5G modem but the first capable of max download speeds of up to 10 gigabits per second, about 10 times faster than peaks on previous offered LTE cellular networks and comparable to fiber broadband and some cable networks services.

The main focus for the new chip will be commercial and industrial applications, such as connecting computers and equipment scattered across corporate campuses directly to cloud computing services when a traditional WiFi network would not be adequate.

Another will be fixed-wireless internet installations, where 5G will replace a traditional hardware-based home or business broadband internet.

Is 5G Safe

Online conspiracy theories have blamed 5G for everything from cancer to coronavirus, but they tend to fall apart at the slightest tap of actual facts. Low-band and mid-band 5G are based on radio frequencies that have been used for decades.

T-Mobile’s low-band 5G uses UHF TV bands, which have been in use since 1952. T-Mobile’s mid-band has been in use at least since 2007, parts of it mid-band were first used in 1963.

AT&T’s low-band 5G is on cellular frequencies used since 1983, and it is no more powerful than previous systems on those bands. Verizon and AT&T’s DSS systems are on existing 4G bands.

The C-band, which was just auctioned off to Verizon and AT&T, is a new band for wireless communication. But it’s important to see where it fits. At 3.7GHz, the C-band is sandwiched between the extremely popular, common 2.4GHz and 5GHz Wi-Fi bands. It’s not going to have any effect on us that pervasive Wi-Fi networks don’t already have. And though conspiracy theorists tend to look askance at Wi-Fi, mainstream science says there’s no convincing evidence Wi-Fi has harmed us.

The World Health Organization says, “Any health effects of low-level electromagnetic fields if they exist at all, are likely to be very small compared to other health risks that people face in everyday life.”

T-Mobile turns on 2.5 GHz, 39 GHz ahead of the Superbowl LV

T-Mobile is prepped for Super Bowl LV this Sunday, having bolstered the Tampa area with mid- band 5G spectrum at the Raymond James Stadium.

T-Mobile has already rolled out 5G in Tampa using the Low-frequency band 600 MHz, on Tuesday that 2.5 GHz 5g band has been active. The faster 2.5 GHz service is available in parts of the downtown area, as well as Hyde Park, Ybor City, and surrounding cities such as St Petersburgh, Clearwater, and Dade City.

Pixel 5 and 4a 5G add support for Standalone (SA) 5G on T-Mobile and Google Fi

Pixel 5 and 4a 5G users got an added bonus with Google’s February security patch: support for T-Mobile Standalone (SA) 5G.

The first 5G networks launched by US carriers utilized the carriers’ existing LTE networks, a strategy which allowed for faster deployment but not true 5G. With the launch of standalone architecture (SA), 5G operates completely independently of LTE. One major benefit is that SA 5G signals can travel further, allowing for better indoor/building penetration. In its announcement enabling this network in August of 2020, T-Mobile says it “immediately increased its 5G footprint by 30 percent,” aiding latency and eventually providing better speeds.

Prior to this update, users could see that NSA was in use by going to Settings > About phone > SIM status > Mobile data network type.

After installing the February update, many users have connected to SA 5G where they would normally get NSA. This also extends to Google Fi, which leases service from T-Mobile. 

T-Mobile turns on 2.5 GHz and 39 GHz 5G in Tampa for Super Bowl

AT&T and Verizon have both made upgrades to their 5G networks in Tampa in preparation for Super Bowl LV this Sunday, and now T-Mobile has confirmed they’ve done the same. T-Mobile already offered 5G in Tampa using low-band 600 MHz spectrum, but T-Mobile President of Technology Neville Ray confirmed that they have now added the 2.5GHz and 39GHz “layers” of the carrier’s 5G to Raymond James Stadium.

The Raymond James Stadium – where the Kansas City Chiefs are set to face off against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers – as well as the parking lot and surrounding areas, are now covered with T-Mobile’s mix of low-, mid-, and high-band spectrum.

5G will generate more than 30,000 jobs in Kentucky in the next decade

According to a new report done by BCG, Kentucky is set to gain 33,210 5G-related jobs by 2030. Several other larger cities will see an increase in jobs related to the 5G system, including Lexington-Fayette (6,295), Cincinnati (6,314), and Louisville (13,441).

Based on these estimates, Kentucky will see a 162% increase in 5G related jobs over the current 4G-related jobs in Kentucky. The state of Kentucky will also see a bump in GDP growth from 5G of $10,786,032,000 during the same period.

Nationwide, the 5G Economy will create up to 4.6 million jobs and add up to $1.7 trillion to the country’s GDP — the equivalent of the world’s current 13th largest national economy.