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Recently, AT&T scooped up the lion’s share of the FCC’s 5G spectrum auction in C-band frequencies, in addition to a $23 billion fork already amassed earlier. Verizon did not participate in this fall auction, but only because it has already fetched more than $45 billion in previous ones.
AT&T phones with C-Band 5G support on the C-Band network
- Apple iPhone 13 Pro Max
- Apple iPhone 13 Pro
- Apple iPhone 13
- Apple iPhone 13 mini
- Apple iPhone 12 Pro Max
- Apple iPhone 12 Pro
- Apple iPhone 12
- Apple iPhone 12 mini
- Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra
- Galaxy S21+
- Galaxy S21
- Samsung Galaxy S21 FE
- Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3
- Samsung Galaxy ZFlip 3
- Samsung Galaxy A13 5G
- Google Pixel 6
- Google Pixel 6 Pro
AT&T 5G C-Band vs 5G low-band vs 4G LTE network speed tests
- Verizon’s new coverage map says it covers over 46 metro areas with C-band, AT&T only lists eight and has no maps.
- C-band provides the boost AT&T needs. Download speeds at the C-band site were triple our average AT&T speeds in the rest of Chicago.
- The 5G low band in Chicago gave us no performance advantage of 4G over the improvements we saw from C-band 5G.
- AT&T’s 40 MHz C-band channel is twice as large as the largest possible 4G channel, which makes a real difference in performance. In comparison, Verizon uses 60 MHz C-band channels and T-Mobile uses 100 MHz, non-C band.
- AT&T is willing to let Verizon do the C-band headlines for now, as it plans to ramp up its build through the second half of 2022 and into 2023.
While tested speeds were sometimes faster than the rest of AT&T’s network in the Windy City, 5G C-band coverage is still scarce. If you’re lucky enough to live within range of one of Ma Bell’s C-band propagation towers and have one of the phones listed above that supports it, you’ll be delighted.
- AT&T’s low-band 5G is fast and can travel farther than AT&T’s high-band 5G+ and penetrate through buildings and objects.
- AT&T’s 5G+ midband (C-band) bridges the gap between the current two bands by traveling farther than the 5G+ high band and delivering faster speeds than the low band.
- Broadband 5G+ (mmWave) offers super-fast speeds, but has limited range and is therefore mainly used in stadiums and high-traffic areas like entertainment districts.
Additionally, AT&T’s peculiar 5G low-band implementation rages on a tiny sliver of 5 MHz spectrum, passing far less data compared to its Wild West of 4G LTE coverage. The new C-Band spectrum deployment even doubles the best 4G LTE streaming in turn, which is why it delivered the download speeds you see in the chart below.