5G and Beyond

Verizon CEO Says Fixed 5G Will Grow in 2020

Verizon reported strong wireless growth in the third quarter as it continues its mobile 5G rollout and revitalizes its "5G Home" fixed wireless access offering.

Alongside Q3 results, Verizon announced Friday the launch of mobile 5G in parts of Dallas and Omaha. Verizon now has 15 mobile markets up on its "Ultra Wideband" millimeter-wave (mmWave) rollout, compared to 21 5G cities launched by AT&T.

Verizon has just relaunched its fixed wireless "5G Home" service in Chicago, using the 3GPP 5G standard, rather than the Verizon pre-standard 5G specification used for the initial launch in October 2018. The operator said that maximum download speeds via 5G Home remains at 1 Gbit/s, with 300 Mbit/s as the promised minimum speed.

"It's a new business model," Verizon CEO Hans Vestberg said on Friday's call. "Now we have it on the global standard, and now we have it on the self-install."

Getting users to install their own 5G Home equipment will save costs for Verizon, especially compared to the professional installation that was previously used for the fixed wireless product. Rollouts will start to really take off in the second half of 2020, with new customer premises equipment (CPE) chipsets due out then, the CEO adds.

On the mobile side, Vestberg didn't reveal Verizon's sales figures for 5G smartphones, but said that 5G was coming to more new handsets next year. "Basically all phones coming out next year will be 5G-capable," Vestberg says, although he noted that he doesn't speak for Apple.

Download speeds also pushing beyond 1 Gbit/s. "We see a clear improvement on the software tuning between the handsets and the network," Vestberg notes.

Verizon added 615,000 postpaid (monthly contract) smartphones in Q3; and signed on 444,000 pay-as-you-go prepaid customers. Wireless revenue for the quarter was $23.6 billion.

Verizon reported Q3 net income of $5.3 billion, compared to $5.6 billion in the year-ago period. Total consolidated revenue came in at $32.89 billion versus $32.61 million a year ago.

Verizon shares were down $0.26, or 0.43%, to $60.43 each in morning trading Friday.

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— Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, Light Reading

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