FCC Auction Rakes In $81 Billion From Wireless Carriers For Expansion Of 5G Networks
AT&T, T-Mobile and Verizon recently shelled out a record $81 billion on frequency spectrum licensing in their bids in increase and expand 5G to their customers. But not all 5G is equal. T-Mobile has by far been the best at rolling out nationwide 5G coverage as it had a very large portfolio of mid-ban spectrum already which was bolstered by its acquisition of Sprint. Verizon and AT&T have struggled with the meaningful mid-band coverage because they lacked frequency spectrum necessary to carry that mid-bad 5G data speeds. In fact, the “uncarrier” already had so much mid-band spectrum that T-Mobile spent a measly $9.3 billion while AT&T had to spend $27.4 billion and Verizon spent $52.9 billion.
“5G comes in three speed categories,” says Janet Logan from the FCC. Low-band is essentially 4G LTE rebranded and with a little pep, mid-band is what T-Mobile has successfully deployed across much of the country already giving people noticeably faster data speeds and better connectivity, and high-band, or millimeter-wave, which is the absolute fastest which is what AT&T and Verizon are working on. AT&T does not expect its mid-band 5G coverage to reach nationwide until 2023 at the soonest, which is similar to Verizon. “What’s different about AT&T and Verizon is that they will also operate millimeter-wave speeds,” which is blazingly fast, so fast in fact, you can download an entire HD movie in just a few seconds.
T-Mobile will be topped out at mid-and speeds, while AT&T will operate all three tiers, low-band, mid-band and millimeter-wave, and Verizon will only operate mid-band and millimeter-wave.
The reason there was not faster mid-band speeds coverage from AT&T and Verizon is that they lacked the specific frequency spectrum where mid-band is located, but with the auction selling off huge chunks, they now have the ability to offer it to their customers.