Have you traveled during the past few years? If so, you’d know how essential a strong cellular signal is at the airport. According to Opensignal(Opens in a new window)users have experienced faster download speeds and video streaming at airports compared with the national average, but that gap narrows on 5G networks.
At the 25 busiest airports in the country, users averaged 51Mbps down against the national average of 38.6Mbps down, a 32% increase in speed. The 5G experience at the airport is also better—129.1Mbps versus 119.8Mbps—but that represents only a 7.8% increase in speed.
Video experience was even narrower. Opensignal found that the video experience at the airport was 2.5 points (on a 100-point scale) better than the national average. But the 5G experience was just 0.3 points better at the airport than it is across the nation.
It should also be noted that the 5G networks around these airports are not as consistent as they should be. Opensignal found that 5G users spent 5.7% of the time without a connection, whereas the national average is just 0.9%. The reason? No C-band deployment.
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5G is already fast, but it could be faster, and more reliable, if Verizon and AT&T were able to launch C-band support at US airports. The new deal Between the FAA and mobile carriers will allow the necessary infrastructure to be installed, finally, by July 2023. This should greatly improve download speed and video experiences while reducing time spent without a signal.
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