Verizon touts 5G network in T-Mobile’s home turf

Verizon announced today that it’s the network for football fans in Seattle, which happens to be T-Mobile’s home turf.

In fact, Verizon is rubbing it in a little, saying it recently gained access to the total amount of C-band spectrum it won at auction in March 2021. That nearly triples the 5G bandwidth available to serve customers throughout Seattle.

It also recently added millimeter wave (mmWave) in some notable areas, including Capitol Hill, Ballard, Green Lake, Queen Anne, Highline, Central Tacoma, Proctor, Hilltop, Kirkland, Mercer Island, Renton – and let’s not forget Bellevue, which is where T-Mobile is headquartered.

The rivalry between all three big U.S. carriers is alive and well, but T-Mobile has been particularly eager to knock Verizon off the “best network” throne in the 5G era. T-Mobile now has a commanding lead in the 5G race, but perception is always slower to catch up to reality.

In a recent TD Cowen survey asking respondents to rank the Big 3 carriers on brand/image, T-Mobile closed the gap between itself and Verizon to the narrowest it has ever been. However, T-Mobile still fell short of beating Verizon. Specifically, 43% of respondents perceived Verizon to have the best 5G network, followed by 34% for T-Mobile and 23% for AT&T, according to Cowen.

T-Mobile’s Seahawks deal

Just a few days ago, the Seattle Seahawks heralded a new partnership with T-Mobile where the “un-carrier” is now the “Exclusive 5G Wireless Partner” of the team. The partnership extends through the 2028 season. The press release announcing the deal noted that T-Mobile adds to the Seahawks’ growing portfolio of partners based in the greater Seattle area.

As the team’s Exclusive 5G Wireless Partner, T-Mobile’s branding is visible in-venue at Lumen Field beginning with the team’s regular season home opener, which was on Sunday. (Let’s just say Seahawks fans will be hoping for a better result next Sunday in Detroit.)

T-Mobile also will partner closely with the Seahawks to enhance the “already incredible” fan experience at Lumen Field, in addition to deploying network upgrades to boost connectivity for T-Mobile customers at events year-round.

"This partnership with the Seattle Seahawks underscores our immense pride in our hometown team and our commitment to supporting the local community," said Mike Katz, president of Marketing, Strategy and Products at T-Mobile, in a statement. "The Seahawks have a proven track record of raising the bar for their fans, just like we do for our customers. So naturally, we're excited to get things started and, together with the Seahawks, take the gameday experience to new heights for the 12s."

T-Mobile did not respond to a request for further details on their network upgrades at the stadium. Lumen Field is conveniently located next to T-Mobile Park, home of the Seattle Mariners.

Verizon’s stadium upgrades

Asked how Verizon’s work differs from what T-Mobile is doing at Lumen Field, a Verizon spokesperson said its announcement outlines the various ways Verizon is supporting fans throughout Seattle and it’s not announcing any marketing partnerships.

“We have made significant upgrades to our service in and around the stadium, introduced the coach-to-coach private network and made major enhancements throughout Seattle for fans who are hosting football game-day get togethers or watching the games remotely,” the Verizon spokesperson said.

There is an extensive 4G distributed antenna system (DAS) at Lumen Field and Verizon deployed a 5G mmWave system in the stadium. Verizon is using both mmWave and C-band spectrum outside the stadium in tailgating, parking and ingress/egress areas and around public transit stations.

Verizon’s Managed Private Wireless Solution, coach-to-coach communications is officially live in all 30 NFL stadiums, including Lumen Field. The managed private wireless solution was initially piloted during all five international NFL games in the 2022 season.

Verizon takes pride in its long-standing partnership with the NFL and has announced some “Official 5G Network” partnerships of its own, including with the Washington Commanders and the Tennessee Titans.