Verizon reported solid first quarter numbers and provided new details into its 5G strategy, as it continues with early deployments.
CEO Hands Vestberg said that Verizon is continuing to prioritize its 5G roll-out in “cities that have made it easy to build there.”
Vestberg also said that the company is anticipating the use of dynamic spectrum sharing as part of its 5G strategy — so that specific spectrum bands do not have to be allocated to specific technology generations, as has typically been the case in wireless technology. He said that the technology won’t be available until next year and that Verizon is in early conversations with chipset and equipment vendors, but added that “all spectrum will be exposed to dynamic spectrum sharing over time.”
Executives from the company faced a number of questions from analysts about the performance of its millimeter wave spectrum, which it is leveraging for 5G services. Vestberg said that Verizon’s 5G “meets our expectations” and that the company will continue to push software updates and upgrades that result in performance improvements.
“We have much more to come out, in speed, throughput and coverage,” Vestberg added, although he did comment that mmWave spectrum “is not a coverage spectrum” in terms of its range.
T-Mobile US CTO Neville Ray published a blog entry this week criticizing both Verizon and AT&T for their mmWave-based 5G strategy and claims, saying that T-Mobile US is the “adult in the room” on 5G and will bring a national 5G footprint, as opposed to the limited-footprint early commercial launches that the two larger carriers have made. He called out Verizon specifically, saying that its “mmWave-only 5G plan is only for the few. And it will never reach rural America” and that it also “will never materially scale beyond small pockets of 5G hotspots in dense urban environments.”
Asked about mmWave’s ability to scale and be used for coverage purposes (as opposed to capacity), Vestberg responded that most of Verizon’s traffic is in dense urban areas where it is focused on deploying mmWave-based 5G. He also said that the company is testing different service-level plans that could be offered on mobile 5G; its 5G Home initial offering was launched with the expectation of a minimum of 300 Mbps speeds, but lowering that minimum speed would increase the physical range that each site could serve. Verizon is also expecting 5G New Radio-based customer premise equipment for its 5G Home fixed wireless access service offering to be available in the second half of this year, so that the carrier can transition its initial, proprietary 5G Technical Forum-based 5G Home markets to 5G NR and operate a single 5G network.
Among Verizon’s reported figures for the first quarter of 2019:
-Total wireless revenues of $22.7 billion for the quarter, up 3.7% from the same period last year. That growth was largely driven by growth in its service revenues, which were up 4.4% year-over-year as the company continues to see subscribers move to higher-priced, unlimited plans.
-Retail postpaid device activations were down nearly 5% from the same period last year, at 8.8 million versus 9.3 million. Verizon reported 61,000 retail postpaid net additions, which includes 174,000 postpaid smartphone net additions; Verizon had 44,000 phone net losses. Retail postpaid churn was 1.12%, and retail postpaid phone churn was 0.84%.
-Prepaid net losses of 176,000, compared to losses of 335,000 in the year-ago period, with the company continuing its focus on “high value” prepaid customers. Analyst Bill Ho of 556 Ventures tweeted some historical context:
-Broadband revenues were down 3.9% year-over-year, although the consumer market segment revenues were flat. Verizon had 52,000 Fios internet net additions and 53,000 Fios video net losses during the quarter. The company announced a new deal with Google to offer YouTube TV to its 5G Home and Fios customers.
-The company continued to see losses in its Verizon Media segment, formerly Oath, where revenues were $1.8 billion, down 7.2% from the same period last year as declines in desktop advertising more than offset growth in mobile and native advertising.
The post Verizon posts solid Q1, looks forward to 5G dynamic spectrum sharing appeared first on RCR Wireless News.