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Verizon customers now have a better chance of seeing the iconic 5G UW icon on their phones

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In the past, whenever a The Verizon subscriber saw the 5G UW icon on his phone’s status bar, it meant one thing. This phone had somehow found the carrier’s 5G mmWave band coverage offering 5G data download speeds as fast as 1 Gbps. Seeing this icon on a 5G-enabled phone was the holy grail for Verizon subscribers because it meant they got the fastest download speed 5G service.

Verizon now includes midband 5G signals as part of its Ultra Wideband service

But mmWave signals have a problem. Of course they are fast. But they don’t travel far and are easily blocked by structures, trees, and other things that can block the signal. Many Verizon customers have begun to wonder if 5G Ultra Wideband really exists. But in a clever move, Verizon quickly expanded the range of its Ultra Wideband service allowing more subscribers to see that 5G UW icon on their phones.

So how did Big Red do this? Was it some kind of technological trick that allowed Verizon to extend the reach of mmWave signals? Well, let’s say it was a trick, but it certainly wasn’t magic. When Verizon launched its mid-band 5G coverage in C-band, it quietly decided that those mid-band signals would also fall into the Ultra Wideband category even though they were slower than mmWave signals.

And because midband signals travel greater distances than millimeter waves, they’re easier to find. This allows Verizon to say that more subscribers are now getting its 5G Ultra Wideband service even though in reality nothing has changed. The only difference is that Verizon customers with a 5G phone that connects to the carrier’s C-band signals can now see that cool-looking 5G UW icon in their handset’s status bar.

And the Ultra Wideband shell game will continue as Verizon announced today that it will quickly take control of the C-band spectrum in other markets. Now, with its new definition of what’s called Ultra Wideband, Verizon can say its 5G Ultra Wideband service will come to 30 more regions, including major population centers like Atlanta, GA; Baltimore, MD; Washington, DC and Denver, CO.

That spectrum was originally supposed to be cleared for use in December 2023, and now, by the end of this year, Verizon hopes to have 175 million people covered by its Ultra Wideband service, a year ahead of schedule. Kyle Malady, Executive Vice President and President of Global Network and Technology, said, “This early spectrum release is just the latest development that allows us to bring 5G Ultra Wideband to our customers faster.

Verizon also uses Massive MIMO and Carrier Aggregation to boost its 5G signals

Malady went on to say, “We’ve been able to accelerate deployment as we get more efficiency and coverage from the C-band spectrum, taking advantage of opportunities like the one we’re announcing today and leveraging leveraged our existing infrastructure. In my career at Verizon, I have never seen a network deployment move so quickly.”

Verizon uses technology such as Massive MIMO (Multiple Input, Multiple Output) to increase the number of antennas carrying signals between a 5G base station and a 5G handset. This creates multiple paths for data to travel between the two points. With Carrier Aggregation, different network bands are combined to increase bandwidth and provide faster data speeds.

Verizon’s Malady says, “We will continue to give more customers access to 5G while building the entire network infrastructure and ecosystem to deliver the most meaningful 5G experience possible to our customers. .”