US 4G/5G Penetration

Adapted from an article that is maintained by Los Angeles-based Oram Miller, BBEC, EMRS from Create Healthy Homes.

In Oct 2020, Verizon launched their new “5G Nationwide” service — a service which is not based on wwWaves (see below), but on sub-6000 MHz frequencies. Verizon also said that they expanded their “5G Ultra Wideband” service which is based on millimeter wave frequencies (mmWaves) — 27,000-29,000 MHz & 37,000-39,000 MHz — only in the 30 or so cities that had already had such wwWave service.

Verizon’s new “5G Nationwide” service uses their lower existing 4G frequencies in the low- and mid-bands and is another example of the confusing, constantly-shifting 5G marketing label . . . therefore, it is beneficial to just stop talking about the “G’s”, which are just fuzzy marketing terms that confuse and mislead everyone. Instead, focus on the specific frequencies that each carrier has licensed from the FCC to deploy in your geography. We located a good tool that can help you do that. Check out this example for Tucson, AZ.

T-Mobile wasted no time in pointing out that Verizon’s bait-and-switch marketing tactics are deceptive and misleading. In the words of this T-Mobile video:

“Verizon Ultra Wideband 5G is available 0.6% of the time. Verizon nationwide 5G has nowhere near 25x faster speeds. Confused? That’s the way Verizon likes it.”

Also, as one can read here, “AT&T Put a Fake 5G Logo on 4G LTE phones”

According to FierceWireless, AT&T displays an icon reading “5G-E” on newer phones that are connected to LTE in markets where the carrier has deployed a handful of speed boosting — but still definitively 4G — technologies. The “E,” displayed smaller than the rest of the logo, refers to “5G Evolution,” the carrier’s term for networks that aren’t quite 5G but are still faster than traditional LTE.

In an Oct 2020 blog post by cellular industry consultant and insider, Doug Dawson, he discussed Apple’s introduction of 5G service on their new iPhone 12. Doug reminds us that the vast majority of Wireless Carrier service is just 4G repackaged as 5G:

“…what’s being sold as 5G is just a repackaged version of 4G. The new features from an upgrade in cellular specifications will get rolled out over a decade, like we saw with the transition from 4G to 5G. In terms of the improvements of these new phones, we’re probably now at 4.1G, which is a far cry from what 5G will be like in ten years.” 5G signals in the mmWave band in certain neighborhoods of select cities received by Apple’s iPhone 12s sold by Verizon, T-Mobile and AT&T is faster indeed than 4G, but only reliably received outdoors and still only in very select neighborhoods. See here and here for mmWave 5G coverage maps for Verizon and T-Mobile, respectively.

Verizon says that its “5G Nationwide” service uses Dynamic Spectrum Sharing (“DSS”):

“Verizon 5G Nationwide uses a different, low-band spectrum that involves dynamic spectrum sharing (DSS). DSS is a technology that allows 5G service to run simultaneously with 4G LTE on multiple spectrum bands. With DSS, whenever customers move outside Verizon’s high-band Ultra Wideband coverage area, their 5G-enabled devices will remain on 5G technology using the lower bands. By deploying both technologies together, Verizon is able to use its full portfolio of current spectrum resources to serve both 4G and 5G customers, maximizing their customers’ 5G experiences on the Verizon network.”

This quote is found in the FAQ section on Verizon’s coverage map page in response to the question, “What is the difference between 5G Ultra Wideband and 5G Nationwide?”

This means we are exposed to more modulated signals from small cell antennas closer to our homes in residential neighborhoods, and those low- and mid-band “5G” signals are like 4G signals: both are always-on, wide in their dispersal and now modulated to carry even more digital data through the air. The real danger is that these 4G LTE-Advanced and low- and mid-band 5G cell signals are far more modulated than 3G and 4G signals were in the past. That means, more data is being sent into the same airspace at the same power density and frequency but at faster download speeds. 5G signals in the mmWave are also highly modulated. This modulation of 4G LTE-Advanced and 5G cell signals at all frequencies makes them more biologically active and harmful to all biological life, including humans.

Wired Broadband & Wireless Broadband Are Not Functionally Equivalent Services

Remember three strategies regarding the use of wireless devices and infrastructure:

  • Wireless infrastructure antennas: Distance is your friend (2,500 feet or more) and shield your home if readings meet or exceed an average of -50 dBm or 6 μW/m²
  • Wireless device antennas: reduce use, increase distance, or just power off all antennas from any device or router in your home
  • Always use wired broadband via Ethernet cables instead of wireless in your home and office