Verizon 5G Network Can’t Even Reach Every Sports Arena Seat


All the major competing US mobile carriers now have their own initial and functional version of a 5G network. However, smartphones that support this groundbreaking service are still very few and far between. Verizon is one of the leading mobile networks in the country that offer such. Just last week, the company proudly announced that its 5G network is now available in three NBA arenas. They added that seven more arenas will follow by the end of the 2019-2020 basketball season. But wait, there’s more. The same issue in NFL stadiums rears its ugly head anew. Verizon 5G can only cover certain seating areas.


Sporting the Verizon 5G Network

5G network is a fairly new technology. It’s highly-touted to provide a theoretical peak download speed of 20 gigabits per second and 10 Gbps upload speed. Infrastructure and signals for a fully realized 5G service are still minimal at the present.

Verizon calls their technology and mobility service as 5G Ultra Wideband. As one of the earliest carriers to roll out 5G, Verizon heavily relies on millimeter-wave signals. These signals can carry unprecedented loads of data. On the downside, they don’t travel very far and can’t pass through walls and other obstacles. The carrier moved on to its indoor 5G service but had trouble covering large spaces in their entirety. NFL stadiums have huge seating capacities that can accommodate between 60,000 to 80,000 people. NBA arenas are comparatively smaller with 17,000 to 21,000 seats. This big size difference wasn’t enough, as Verizon 5G still faced coverage issues for the latter venues.

ongoing game at the thomas and mack center basketball arena showing seats with 5g access
Photo by NeONBRAND from


Best in the West, Least in the East

The much-anticipated new NBA season opens today. Verizon stated that their 5G network is already up and running in three specific facilities. They are Phoenix’s Talking Stick Resort Arena, Denver’s Pepsi Center, and San Francisco’s Chase Center. These are the home arenas of the Phoenix Suns, Denver Nuggets, and Golden State Warriors, respectively.

The carrier’s official announcement didn’t elaborate on the limited coverage. They also didn’t specify the data speeds attendees should expect on game day. A spokesperson for the company later confirmed that the service doesn’t cover the entire arena, “just certain seating areas.” Perhaps these specific seats are the lower bowls and boxes where network antennas are mostly aimed at. These sections are also the most expensive ones. The same announcement also promised that Verizon 5G will “enhance the game-day experience for sports fans and provide greater bandwidth for concert-goers, visitors, or businesses working inside the venue.”

Unfortunately, Verizon is still working on providing 5G coverage in New York City’s famed Madison Square Garden. Home of the New York Knicks, the venue is affectionately and historically recognized as a basketball mecca. Local fans are one of the most knowledgeable and intense followers in sports. It will be quite a disappointment if they’re expecting faster internet speeds during the games.


Future Plans for Verizon 5G

The mobile carrier boasted that its 5G service is already live in 13 NFL stadiums with more to come along the way. It also expects to serve 10 NBA arenas by this season’s end, though these facilities remain unnamed. However, Verizon 5G’s capability to cover entire seating areas in one major sports venue is still very much unclear.

On the other hand, the company made another announcement yesterday. Verizon expressed that its 5G home internet service comes to Chicago tomorrow, October 24. The Windy City will be the fifth one to receive such, albeit only in certain parts as well.