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Verizon’s 5G network isn’t good enough to cover an entire NFL stadium

A Verizon logo on top of a black background.
Enlarge / A Verizon brand at GSMA Cellular World Congress 2019 on February 26, 2019 in Barcelona, Spain.

Verizon yesterday introduced that its 5G service is on the market in 13 NFL stadiums however stated the community is barely capable of cowl “parts” of the seating areas. Verizon 5G alerts may even be sparse or non-existent when followers stroll by means of concourses and different areas in and round every stadium.

The rollout of 5G is extra sophisticated than the rollout of 4G was as a result of 5G depends closely on millimeter-wave alerts that do not journey far and are simply blocked by partitions and different obstacles. Whereas Verizon is making an attempt to construct pleasure round 5G, its announcement for availability in NFL stadiums carried a number of caveats.

“Verizon 5G Ultra Wideband service will be available in areas of the [13] stadiums,” Verizon stated. “Service will be concentrated in parts of the seating areas but could be available in other locations in and around the stadium as well.”

Discover the phrase “could be available” in that final sentence. Verizon is not promising any 5G protection outdoors the seating areas, and the seating-area protection will solely be out there in some sections.

When contacted by Ars, Verizon stated that its 5G protection “varies by stadium” however supplied no specifics on how widespread the protection is in every facility. At the least a number of the 13 stadiums haven’t any 5G protection out there outdoors the seating areas, Verizon additionally acknowledged.

“Our main focus is to provide 5G Ultra Wideband service to fans when they are in their seats,” Verizon instructed Ars. “In some stadiums we also have 5G available in the concourse areas and by the entry gates.”

Verizon additionally stated it plans to “expand to more stadiums during this season” and “increas[e] coverage in the 13 stadiums that currently have 5G.” However Verizon didn’t inform us if it expects to succeed in full-stadium protection in any of the NFL services, and it did not reply our query about whether or not the in-stadium limits are because of using millimeter-wave frequencies or another issue.

Similar drawback in early launch cities

This is identical drawback, on a smaller scale, that Verizon’s community skilled in early 5G launch cities. You needed to be close to a 5G antenna to get a sign, and reviewers had hassle staying related to the 5G service.

Verizon’s stadium announcement defined that prospects’ telephones will fall again to 4G robotically and that in some cities, there is no 5G protection in any respect outdoors the stadiums:

When prospects with 5G enabled smartphones transfer outdoors Verizon’s 5G Extremely Wideband protection space, the 5G-enabled gadgets will transition the sign to Verizon’s 4G community. In some cities the stadium would be the solely place with Verizon 5G Extremely Wideband service, providing followers a singular 5G expertise they cannot get anyplace else of their native space.

5G can work on any frequency utilized by cell networks, together with the lower-band frequencies Verizon makes use of for its nationwide 4G community. However Verizon has stated that prospects will solely discover small velocity will increase on 5G when it is delivered over low-band frequencies. The massive velocity will increase will come on millimeter-wave deployments, which might be concentrated in densely populated areas.

The 13 stadiums the place Verizon 5G is partially out there embrace these utilized by the Carolina Panthers, Denver Broncos, Seattle Seahawks, Detroit Lions, New England Patriots, Miami Dolphins, Indianapolis Colts, New York Giants and New York Jets (they share a stadium in New Jersey), Baltimore Ravens, Houston Texans, Chicago Bears, and Minnesota Vikings. That is solely 12 stadiums, so there is a 13th that Verizon hasn’t revealed. There are one other 18 NFL stadiums with out Verizon 5G service.

AT&T additionally yesterday introduced millimeter-wave 5G for NFL followers, however solely on the AT&T Stadium utilized by the Dallas Cowboys. It sounds just like the protection might be higher than Verizon’s, as an AT&T spokesperson instructed us that its 5G at AT&T Stadium “include[s] all of the non-suite seating sections, the plaza areas, and the field itself.” (That is actual 5G, not AT&T’s rebranded 4G.) However not like Verizon’s NFL deployment, AT&T’s is barely out there at one stadium to this point.

The fact of 5G has to this point fallen in need of the hype stoked by carriers and Federal Communications Fee officers, who’ve claimed 5G is so revolutionary that the standard guidelines and laws should not apply to its rollout.

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