Download speeds usually get the most attention when it comes to 5G, but Verizon announced customers can now upload using 5G in the carrier’s soon-to-be 35 markets with millimeter wave 5G service.
Previously, Verizon’s 5G customers could only upload over a 4G LTE connection, but CTO Kyle Malady on Twitter said the carrier has added 5G NR to the uplink portion. That has been one of the biggest requests Verizon’s had since launching 5G, according to its press release.
“We’re taking the tools of 5G and adding it to the portion of the communication path from the device to the cell site,” explained Malady speaking on a Twitter chat Wednesday.
Compared to 4G LTE, consumers should expect at least 30% faster 5G upload speed, between 25 Mbps to a peak of 100 Mbps, which Verizon’s technology chief called “a significant" boost.
“It shows we can walk and chew gum at the same time,” Malady added.
Most activity, like streaming shows and movies, involves downloading, but as Verizon noted in its release, uplinks are needed for high-definition video uploads to social media, large multiplayer games and to back up files or projects. The 5G NR uplink is also available in Verizon’s Chicago 5G Home market, which could be important as more consumers work from home.
PCMag confirmed that Verizon will use 100 MHz of mmWave 5G spectrum for uploads and said the carrier typically only uses 20 MHz at most for LTE. It also reported the expected 30% speed increase is conservative, with PCMag’s own tests showing 5G uplink increased average speeds from 37 Mbps to 93 Mbps in Rhode Island last year.
5G uploads will also be available in San Diego starting May 28, which is when Verizon’s launching its millimeter wave in that market – bringing its 5G tally to 35 cities. As in other locations, the service will be limited to small pockets of San Diego, with customers switching back to 4G LTE when not in the 5G coverage zone.
Verizon recently added Samsung’s Galaxy S20 to its 5G smartphone to its lineup, after already offering the Galaxy S20+ and S20 Ultra earlier this year. Unlike initial versions of the S20, it now has support for Verizon’s millimeter wave 5G, as well as support for sub-6 GHz, so will be compatible with both once the carrier rolls out 5G service using low-band spectrum. Pre-orders start May 21.
“Our customers’ need for 5G is accelerating,” Malady said in a statement. “We’re building our 5G Ultra Wideband network to develop and enable the 5G innovations that will support changing the behavior of consumers, businesses and entire industries."