Verizon’s 5G network gets substantial upgrade with C-band activation

Expect to find better cellular performance in more areas (that is, if you have a compatible device).

If you’re a Verizon subscriber, you may have noticed that your 5G smartphone is performing a bit better on cellular data than it did yesterday. That’s because the carrier has officially confirmed it’s completed the activation of C-band 5G spectrum, filling out the availability of mid-band 5G and increasing the speed of downloads and uploads drastically.

C-band spectrum is somewhat of a coveted technology in the world of 5G since it can be deployed much more widely than mmWave while still maintaining similar speeds. Unlike mmWave, C-band (or mid-band) spectrum can penetrate buildings and provide a wider signal overall, eliminating sudden performance drop-offs when moving in the wrong direction of a mmWave tower. Verizon spent tens of billions of dollars to acquire the infrastructure necessary to deploy mid-band 5G, and it seems to be paying off.

Already, Verizon customers are reporting positive feedback about the rollout, with users in the Verizon Subreddit claiming improved cellular performance in both download and upload speeds. Some are touting speeds as high as 800Mbps down and 400Mbps up. Of course, this all depends on your location and the device you’re using, but these are promising results nonetheless.

According to Verizon, Apple’s iPhone 13 and iPhone 12 series smartphones are already C-band certified as well as its latest iPad Pros and iPad mini. Samsung’s Galaxy S21 series, Z Flip 3, and Z Fold 3 also support mid-band 5G. Google’s Pixel 6 and 6 Pro are currently awaiting certification.

Verizon notes that over 1,700 cities across the country will have access to C-band 5G as of today, and you’ll know you’re connected to it when you see the “5G UW” icon in your phone’s status bar. You also don’t need a certain plan from the carrier to get the faster speeds as every 5G plan offered is supported.

In similar news, AT&T has also deployed its C-band spectrum, although on a much smaller scale. The carrier says “limited parts” of eight metro areas including Detroit, Chicago, Austin, Dallas-Fort Worth, Houston, Jacksonville, Orlando, and South Florida will have access as of today.