Verizon goes after T-Mobile for once (kind of), touting its own big 5G ambitions

Verizon goes after T-Mobile for once (kind of), touting its own big 5G ambitions
In the war for US 5G supremacy, Verizon has been rather non-combative all year, taking punch after punch from T-Mobile, which not only likes to constantly remind us of its early industry lead, also taking the time on several occasions to viciously attack and berate the nation's other major wireless service providers.

While Big Red is still not ready to truly go on the offensive against its seemingly better-positioned arch-rival, the top carrier's Senior Vice President for Technology Strategy and Planning did at least defend his company's, well, 5G strategy with a little more vigor than usual in a recent interview with FierceWireless.

Despite the almost universal criticism from pundits and analysts, Adam Koeppe continues to believe Verizon's transition from 4G LTE to 5G is the only correct way to ensure real and palpable progress for a large number of customers. Furthermore, the carrier fully expects to retain its "position of dominance on 4G LTE" throughout the 5G era T-Mobile is so convinced it will control with ease.

"Others aren't quite in the same position" as Verizon... yet

The irony of Koeppe's latest comments is that they come shortly after an investor conference where Neville Ray, T-Mobile's President of Technology, graciously acknowledged this very same industry supremacy. But while Magenta's head honchos appear to view the 4G era as finished and Big Red's standing in that market as no longer relevant, Adam Koeppe thinks Verizon will be able to build a more solid bridge to 5G than anyone else using the strongest 4G foundation out there and a technology dubbed Dynamic Spectrum Sharing (DSS).

DSS made Verizon's "nationwide" 5G network possible by splitting low-band resources between 4G and 5G users, which T-Mo quickly discarded as a weak and inherently flawed attempt at challenging the (theoretical) new leader of this ever-shifting market.

The nation's largest mobile network operator is however not paying a lot of attention to its detractors... or those damning speed tests conducted in October, aiming to employ Dynamic Spectrum Sharing capabilities for future mid-band 5G rollouts as well. That way, Verizon might be able to close the speed gap to T-Mobile without having to match the insane amount of dedicated mid-band spectrum owned and deployed by the latter after acquiring Sprint earlier this year.

Of course, that means T-Mo's remarkable mid-band 5G download numbers and towering coverage will remain unrivaled, at least until Big Red manages to purchase and deploy a significant amount of standalone C-band spectrum. In other words, Verizon's "position of dominance" is sure starting to look shaky.

Ultra Wideband for the win

If there's one field where Verizon can realistically expect to retain its dominant position for years to come, that's definitely mmWave 5G availability. Then again, "availability" feels like a strong word to describe an "Ultra Wideband" signal that can't even properly penetrate walls or trees. 

Nonetheless, Big Red is touting its 2020 progress in this space, reaffirming its goal to deliver industry-leading speeds of up to 5 Gbps in (small parts) of 60 major cities by the end of the year. Going forward, the carrier obviously plans to continue boosting that number while perhaps more importantly start bringing blazing fast in-building 5G to cities like Atlanta, Boston, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, and Seattle as well in early 2021.

Speaking of speeds, Adam Koeppe has confirmed his company is also working on implementing 5G carrier aggregation technology (just like T-Mobile), with the eventual aim of reaching peak 10 Gbps (!!!) data rates. 

No words on Magenta-rivaling Voice over 5G functionality or a 5G carrier aggregation timeline, which suggests Verizon is one step behind the competition on both those breakthroughs, in line with pretty much every big T-Mobile move so far.

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