T-Mobile has never been one to shy away from calling out its competition, and today the carrier decided to focus on Verizon and its recently launched 5G Nationwide network.
Neville Ray, T-Mobile’s president of technology, explained today that in order to launch its 5G Nationwide network, Verizon is using Dynamic Spectrum Sharing (DSS) technology to share the same spectrum for its 4G LTE and 5G networks. And while this enables it to expand its 5G coverage in a hurry, its overall 5G speeds have taken a hit.
Verizon used to have extremely fast 5G speeds thanks to its mmWave-based 5G Ultra Wideband coverage, which Ray notes is “still available just 0.6% of the time.” But in using DSS to split the spectrum and capacity for its 4G and 5G networks, Verizon’s average 5G download speeds plummeted, according to T-Mo’s analysis of Ookla speed test data in October 2020.
“Without adding new spectrum, Verizon’s nationwide 5G is going to perform very similar to LTE. If you don’t believe me, just ask Verizon’s CTO who said their nationwide 5G speeds are “most of the time, on par” with 4G,” Ray explained. “DSS has its place in 5G, but it should be used in limited scenarios — not to provide an entire nationwide footprint. Our analysis of the Ookla data shows this: Verizon now has the slowest median 5G download speeds in the industry since October 2020.”
T-Mo also posted a new video in which it “fact checks” a recent Verizon ad about 5G. This one’s all about 5G coverage. In it, Verizon says that it’s “turning on 5G across the country”, and T-Mobile notes that that’s 311 days after it activated its own 5G nationwide coverage. “Congrats on 3rd place!” T-Mobile says in its ad.
T-Mobile then calls out Verizon’s ad for first talking up its 5G Nationwide network and then switching to its 5G Ultra Wideband, which it calls “the fastest 5G in the world.” But the fine print in the ad notes that Verizon’s 5G Ultra Wideband is available in “parts of select cities.”
“Confused? That’s how Verizon likes it,” T-Mobile says.
Getting back to Ray, he touts that T-Mobile has been talking up its “layer cake” 5G strategy since early 2018. And right now T-Mobile offers 5G coverage to 270 million people and is in the process of expanding its mid-band 5G coverage, which is already available in 410 cities and is expected to continue expanding through the end of 2020. Average download speeds in places where mid-band 5G is available are reaching 300Mbps.
The FCC is hosting a C-band spectrum auction starting next month, and it’s expected that Verizon will be a major participant in it. That move could help Verizon to improve its 5G network and close the gap with T-Mobile, but T-Mo has gotten itself a headstart with its 5G layer cake strategy and it won’t be sitting still over the coming years.