Before the AWS-3 Auction which ended earlier this month, Verizon had 40MHz of AWS-1 spectrum in about 70% of the top 100 markets here in the US. Following the AWS-3 Auction that number went up to 95% or about 92 of the 100 markets. This is all according to a senior Verizon executive. So why is the AWS spectrum such a big deal? It’s good, low-band spectrum (well sorta) and it will also increase their bandwidth and make room for more devices to connect to their network without their speeds dropping dramatically, which we’ve seen a lot of from all four carriers in recent years.
In the AWS-3 Auction, Verizon won a total of 181 licenses which covers over 192 million people. That equals about 60 percent of the population here in the US. According to Tony Melone, Verizon Communications’ executive vice president of network, Verizon had 127MHz of total spectrum going into the auction in New York City. While they only had 97MHz in cities like Philadelphia, Chicago, and San Francisco. Verizon moved to acquire spectrum in the markets of Baltimore, Los Angeles, San Diego and San Francisco. While forgoing spectrum in cities like Boston and NYC where big red was already in a strong position. Which makes plenty of sense. Instead of buying up a ton of spectrum for a city where you’re already doing well, buy it for other cities where you need a bit of help, spectrum-wise.
“Carrier aggregation gives us tremendous flexibility in leveraging our spectrum assets,” Melone said.
So we should see even faster speeds from Verizon now, in a few more cities. Which is always good as Verizon does add millions of new connections each quarter and that does drain the overall speed of the network. That’s a big reason why they launched XLTE last year. Which I’ve seen some amazing speeds from XLTE, and in other areas, it’s needed just to keep their network usable.