Telecom companies have rolled out 5G networks in various locations across the United States over the past few years, but on January 19 Verizon and AT&T turned on their C-band 5G networks.
C-band refers to the radio airwaves that operate in a mid-band spectrum frequency between 3.7 and 4 GHz, and is considered the “global” frequency for 5G across the world.
“The impact will be that users will likely consume more data, the connection will be more robust and most likely we may see new types of applications emerging,” said Dimitris Mavrakis of market research firm ABI Research, as quoted by CNN.
C-band has been the subject of a dispute between wireless carriers AT&T and Verizon, the Federal Aviation Agency and some airlines. This week, AT&T and Verizon announced they would again delay launching C-band 5G on some towers at some U.S. airports.
The decision came as airlines warned about its concerns for transportation and the overall economy due to the C-band technology, which could interfere with radar altimeters used by pilots.
Telecom industry lobby group CTIA previously said such fears are unfounded, as there have not been problems in 40 countries, including the UK, Australia and China, where 5G is already used.
When the C-band spectrum was put up for auction by the Federal Communications Commission, AT&T and Verizon were among the carriers that spent $81 billion to take advantage of the improvements in speed.
Verizon said its C-band speeds reaches nearly 1 gigabyte per second, some 10 times as fast as 4G LTE.
In a blog post, AT&T said it is introducing C-band 5G, which it is calling its 5G+ network, in eight U.S. metro areas, with plans to expand to more cities.
In a separate blog post, Verizon said its new 5G Ultra Wideband network will be available to 100 million more users this month in over 1,700 U.S. cities, including Chicago, Miami, Los Angeles and New York, and in more than 20 million households.
It also announced a series of plans, including an unlimited 5G mobile and home internet plan, that will be required to access the new network.
Meanwhile, the Biden administration said it is talking with the FAA, Federal Communications Commission, wireless carriers, airlines and aircraft equipment manufacturers to find a solution to concerns over 5G.