Verizon won a bunch of spectrum in the recent C-Band Auction. That spectrum will be deployed over the next few years and will soon form a core part of Verizon’s network.
Eli Blumenthal, a reporter for CNET, recently shared this tweet:
Verizon confirms that to access C-Band you will need a premium unlimited plan like its Play More, Do More and Get More. If you have an older plan you'll only have access to its DSS "nationwide" 5G, not this newer and faster flavor. https://t.co/JH1uTixZaI
— Eli Blumenthal (@eliblumenthal) March 10, 2021
I’m betting Verizon won’t stick to this policy over the long term. The new C-band spectrum is going to be extremely useful for Verizon when managing performance on its capacity-constrained network. If Verizon artificially limits C-band access to a minority of its customers, the company won’t be able to use the spectrum as efficiently as possible.
While I expect limiting C-band access will eventually become costly for Verizon, it’s not too costly yet. There are two main reasons:
- C-band spectrum will take a while to deploy (much of the spectrum won’t even be available to Verizon until 2023).
- At the moment, C-band is only supported by a handful of top-of-the-line phones. People with new, fancy phones almost certainly subscribe to Verizon’s premium plans at a disproportionate rate.
The situation will change as more C-band spectrum is deployed and C-band compatibility becomes a standard feature on nearly all phones. As that happens, I expect Verizon will open up C-band access to almost all of its direct subscribers as well as subscribers with Verizon’s flanker brands and Verizon-powered MVNOs.