New Street Research says Verizon could spend up to $35 billion in capex to deploy its 5G fixed wireless to 32 million homes in the US -- and take seven years doing so -- but that such an investment could give the operator a "meaningful advantage" over other carriers deploying mobile 5G because Verizon would have done the heavy lifting of densifying its network for 5G.
In fact, New Street analysts argue in a new report Tuesday that the main driver for the project is to increase densification of Verizon's 4G -- and ultimately mobile 5G -- network by deploying. This, they argue markets by ~10x. This could "materially delay the need for more mid-band spectrum" for 4G, the report states.
"We estimate that Verizon would need ~360k nodes to address ~32MM households with FWB and 430k nodes when incorporating the FiOS markets [45 million homes in total]." the analysts write.
New Street estimates that Verizon's capital expenditure would hit $22 billion over the seven-year expansion period. This estimate is solely based around the fixed wireless deployment to 32 million homes, so could -- in fact -- be higher in total.
Despite the multi-pronged strategy, Verizon is still watching to see how the 1-GBit/s fixed wireless offering performs against cable rivals, according to the analysts. Verizon management apparently delayed a comment on costs until they had seen results from the initial 5G markets.
"They seemed to imply that if the initial cities met expectations they would be prepared to materially increase capex to pursue the opportunity; if not, the deployment may be spread out over many years, keeping within the current envelope," New Street reports.
— Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, Light Reading