Verizon looks to double its mmWave 5G coverage in 2021

5G masts with blue sky in the background
(Image credit: Shutterstock)

Verizon has announced plans to almost double its ultra-fast 5G mmWave technology coverage.

Marketed under the name “5G ultra-wideband (UW),” this type of 5G offers high speeds, but there’s limited coverage. It’s restricted to select areas within certain US cities because service is highly dependent on users’ being near a Verizon 5G site.

Despite the coverage challenge, Verizon plans to nearly double its 5G UW network this year by adding more than 14,000 new sites, bringing the total 5G sites to over 30,000. Though Verizon hasn’t clarified what it means by a “site,” it’s reasonable to assume this means networks of antennas, power supplies, and other equipment to help boost range.

On this note, some of Verizon’s 5G equipment is already showing up unannounced on Houston, Texas residents’ lawns. Dubbed “ground fixtures,” the tools supply power and data to utility-pole-mounted 5G antennas. It’s not clear if Verizon plans to add test sites to improve the range and consistency of the network in existing markets, bring coverage to new ones entirely, or a mix of both.

As of last month, Verizon surpassed its 60-city milestone with the addition of Tampa/St. Petersburg, Florida; Albuquerque, New Mexico; and Durham, North Carolina to its 5G UW network. Verizon plans to add more cities to its 5G UW coverage list, including 20-plus cities for its in-home 5G internet service.

“Verizon finished the fourth quarter with strong financial performance," said Verizon chairman and CEO Hans Vestberg. "2020 was marked by transformational change, including the launch of our 5G nationwide network. We witnessed a mass shift toward virtual collaboration, touchless retail and delivery, remote work, distance learning, and telemedicine.”