Verizon expanding both reach and breadth of 5G Home

Verizon this week announced it expanded its 5G Home fixed wireless Internet service to five new cities: Austin, Texas; Gresham, Oregon; Albuquerque, New Mexico; Little Rock, Arkansas; and Nashville, Tennessee.

With this latest expansion, the carrier said it's now offering 5G Home services in 52 cities.

"We're continuing our aggressive expansion of our 5G Ultra Wideband and 5G Home services," said Kyle Malady, Verizon's chief technology officer, in a release.

However, Verizon in its release cautioned that its 5G Home service is only available in "parts" of those cities. That's because each of Verizon's 5G Home transmitters only covers a few thousand feet, making broad coverage across vast metro areas an expensive proposition.

A look at Chicago

In order to understand exactly how Verizon's 5G Home rollout is progressing, the financial analysts at Sanford C. Bernstein & Co. released a new report to investors this week focusing specifically on Chicago, where Verizon launched its 5G Home service in 2019. The analysts counted the number of locations where Verizon is offering 5G Home services across a total of 500 residential addresses, split evenly between locations inside Chicago's "Loop" downtown area and other locations.

The analysts' findings are noteworthy: "We see expanding coverage in Chicago," the analysts concluded, noting that Verizon has significantly broadened the coverage of its 5G Home service in Chicago between 2020 and 2021.

That's important because it indicates Verizon is not only launching new 5G Home markets but also expanding coverage in its existing markets.

"We found that 5G Home is widespread (70% offer rate) in the Loop (1.3% of the city's population but a much greater portion of mobile traffic and retail sales), and becoming relevant (18% offer rate) elsewhere," the analysts wrote.

They noted that both figures represent an increase from their checks of the same addresses last year:

Verizon is expanding its 5G Home service in Chicago. (Source: Sanford C. Bernstein & Co.)
Verizon is expanding its 5G Home service in Chicago.
(Source: Sanford C. Bernstein & Co.)

However, the analysts conducted a similar check of Houston – another early Verizon 5G Home market – and found less coverage. "Within Houston, we found offers for 5G Home hard to come by. Actually, there weren't any until we searched in a west side quadrant measuring 20 square miles and with 70,000 inhabitants. This zone is comparable to Chicago's Loop where we found lots of service. What's different about Houston and Chicago, however, is that the rest of Houston has no service. In Chicago, we found offers throughout the city," the analysts wrote.

Verizon's 5G Home service offers unlimited in-home Internet connections starting at $50 per month for existing Verizon customers. It currently works on the operator's short-range millimeter wave (mmWave) network, but the operator has said it plans to use its new C-band spectrum to expand its 5G Home coverage. The offering represents a direct attack by Verizon on the nation's cable operators.

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Mike Dano, Editorial Director, 5G & Mobile Strategies, Light Reading | @mikeddano

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