Verizon: Half of FWA customers are new to the company
Half of the customers who are signing up for Verizon’s 5G Home fixed wireless access broadband service are new to the company, according to Ronan Dunne, EVP and president of Verizon Wireless.
Dunne, speaking at the Wells Fargo Tech Summit on Tuesday morning in a question-and-answer session with telecom analyst Jennifer Fritzsche of Wells Fargo, said that in the four initial launch markets for 5G Home, the customer base is split about 50-50 between those who have an existing relationship with Verizon and those who don’t. 5G Home is currently offered with the first three months free, then at $50 per month for customers who have a Verizon smartphone plan and $70 per month for those who do not.
Dunne said that having launched 5G Technical Forum-based fixed wireless access in four cities, Verizon will deploy 5G New Radio from here on out. The four 5G TF markets are Sacramento, CA; Los Angeles, CA; Houston, TX; and Indianapolis, IN.
“We won’t build any more markets with TF,” Dunne said, going on to add that its four TF markets are building the operator’s knowledge — not in the technical sense, but in its knowledge of real-life users. He said that the amount of time it takes to do a 5G Home installation “drops every single week” and that while the service has initially been rolled out with professional installation, he expects that over time that will shift to self-installation by the customer over time.
Dunne also said that the “vast majority” of 5G Home customers are getting speeds that are significantly higher than the minimum advertised speed of 300 Mbps.
“Most of our customers are probably double that,” Dunne said. Verizon says the maximum speed to expect from the service is 940 Mbps.
While there have been doubts about the resiliency of millimeter wave spectrum in terms of its ability to operate in rain, with leaf cover on trees and in non-line-of-sight circumstances, Dunne said, Verizon is seeing the service work in all of those scenarios.
Dunne also emphasized that Verizon is “building one network” that incorporates its fiber and spectrum assets as well as increased network density, and that it has been Verizon has been preparing for 5G for the past four years — which is why it doesn’t expect to see a huge spike in capital expenditures in order to roll out 5G. In fact, Dunne said, there may be some areas where Verizon actually ends up with fewer nodes than it has in LTE, as it progresses to future releases of 5G NR.
Dunne said that while Verizon does see a “significant opportunity to play in the value creation above the core connectivity layer” — such as in the smart home — he doesn’t see its 5G offering as revolving around heavy content bundles.
“People want to cord-shave or cord-cut,” he said. “We’re actually leaning in to changing customer behaviors.”
Verizon also this week announced that it will have a Samsung 5G smartphone available in the first half of 2019. In contrast to early 4G devices, which could be clunky and were more about proving that the technology could work, Dunne said, the move to bring an “iconic Samsung high-end device” and the 5G-upgradeable Motorola z3 as early device offerings is aimed both at giving customers access to 5G but also “all the benefits of the 4G network. Devices that give them the best of what’s out there, rather than ‘it uses the new technology, don’t worry about the other stuff.’”
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