Both AT&T and T-Mobile Own Low Band 5G Spectrum – Why it matters

Light Reading has a 5G article that covers why this is important to potential rural customers. All the hype and concern about health issues has been about mmWave installation. Rural customers need to focus on the low band implementation of 5G, which both AT&T and T-Mobile have a role to play.

Light Reading: Why this matters

5G remains a hot topic in the wireless industry, but so far most 5G deployments have been done using millimeter-wave (mmWave) spectrum. Such spectrum generally sits above 20GHz and is able to transmit huge amounts of data but cannot travel more than a few thousand feet. Thus, today’s 5G mmWave networks from the likes of Verizon and AT&T only cover a handful of city blocks in a handful of large cities.

However, due to the physical propagation characteristics of low-band spectrum like 600MHz or 700MHz, operators like T-Mobile or AT&T could easily cover whole cities with just one cell tower. Thus, low-band spectrum will play a critical role in pushing 5G into more and more parts of the US.

The tradeoff though is that low-band spectrum can’t transmit as much data as mmWave spectrum. For example, Verizon’s mmWave 5G network has been averaging around 500Mbit/s with peaks above 1Gbit/s, while T-Mobile’s CTO has acknowledged that 5G on the operator’s 600MHz spectrum likely will clock in around 60-70Mbit/s. AT&T will probably see similar speeds on its 700MHz 5G network.

Well, 60-70 Mbits is better than no bits at all. Stay Tuned 5G is coming, the question is will SpaceX Statlink get there before rural 5G?  If they both arrive in your neighborhood, will competition drive down the price? Yes!  Capitalism is wonderful!

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