Verizon teases ‘multi-spectrum strategy’ for its 5G network

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T-Mobile CEO John Legere has criticized Verizon in the past for relying solely on millimeter wave (mmWave) spectrum for its 5G network, but the big red carrier today hinted that it’s got a strategy beyond mmWave.

Verizon has a “multi-spectrum strategy” when it comes to rolling out 5G. Heidi Hemmer, Verizon’s VP of network and technology, confirmed that strategy to The Verge, adding that Verizon “will be using at some point in the future every band of spectrum that we currently own.”

However, Hemmer declined to share much more about Verizon’s 5G rollout plans or its multi-spectrum strategy, explaining that keeping quiet gives Verizon a “competitive edge.”

While reallocating spectrum currently used for LTE to be used with its 5G network is an option, Hemmer said that Verizon doesn’t want to “take spectrum away from bread-and-butter customers.”

Legere’s criticism of a mmWave-only 5G deployment is related to mmWave’s relatively short reach. The spectrum can offer high speeds, but it’s not great at reaching long distances or penetrating buildings. That’s where low-band spectrum comes in. Verizon’s decision not to reallocate spectrum being used by LTE for its 5G network is likely because Verizon is still very early in its 5G deployment, with coverage in parts of a handful of cities and only a few devices available that can access 5G. Once Verizon’s 5G network and device availability expands and more customers move onto the 5G coverage, Verizon could begin to use some of its LTE spectrum for 5G.

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