Verizon Promises Overhauled Fixed Wireless 5G Service Later This Year
The chief executive of Verizon's consumer business reiterated that the operator will begin offering a refreshed 5G Home fixed wireless service later this year. The offering will be deployed across all of Verizon's 30 5G markets, and will emphasize indoor antennas that users install themselves.
Verizon's fixed wireless efforts reflect the operator's desire to pair its mobile 5G offerings for smartphones with a stationary, 5G-powered Internet service piped into users' homes and offices. It also represents the company's most direct attack yet against cable companies such as Comcast and Charter Communications, which have based much of their business around selling Internet connections to residential and business users.
Verizon's Ronan Dunne said the operator's initial 5G Home launch in four cities in October of last year was a way for Verizon to test the technology before taking it mainstream. He said the operator has been testing exactly how to install and market the service. Specifically, he said Verizon has found that roughly 80% of customers can install their own receiver antenna for the service indoors, which eliminates the need for Verizon to send a technician to the customers' location in order to install a receiver antenna outside -- a potentially expensive proposition. Verizon technicians currently install its 5G Home equipment. Further, Dunne said that more than 90% of the traffic on the service is carried over Verizon's 5G network, with less than 10% falling back to Verizon's existing 4G network in the area.
Interestingly, Dunne said that Verizon also plans to release a new CPE (customer premises equipment) receiver next year that will feature a high-powered chip specifically designed to extend the range of fixed wireless services. He said that would improve customers' service, because the company is using chips designed for smartphones in its current CPE.
Although Dunne didn't name Qualcomm as the vendor for the new chip, Qualcomm just last week announced its new QTM527 mmWave antenna module, which it said delivers "the world’s first fully integrated extended-range mmWave solution for 5G fixed wireless access."
Dunne also retierated that Verizon's relaunch of 5G Home later this year will leverage equipment running on the 5G NR standard rather than Verizon's own 5G TF standard that it used for the launch of 5G Home in four cities last year.
Finally, Dunne also said that Verizon's 5G Home offering would eventually expand to all 30 markets where Verizon has promised to launch mobile 5G services. That's noteworthy since the operator appeared earlier this year to step away from initial promises to eventually expand 5G Home to 30 million households.
Dunne also addressed a number of other pressing issues:
- He said the company is prepared to compete against Altice Mobile, a new mobile offering from cable company Altice that is expected to pressure Verizon in markets such as New York and New Jersey. Dunne said that Verizon has successfully competed against Sprint in those markets -- Altice Mobile is piggybacking on the Sprint network -- and that Verizon would also focus on bundling its mobile and fixed Internet services into compelling offerings.
- He said that, if Dish Network does indeed enter the wireless market via the merger between Sprint and T-Mobile, it will be difficult for the company to both build a 5G network and compete with Verizon. "Just for the moment I'm focused on the competitors that are on the field," he added. He also said he does not believe that Verizon's wholesale customers will want to "downgrade experience" by switching to Dish; Comcast and Charter are among Verizon's wholesale MVNO customers.
- He said Verizon would eventually release 5G coverage maps, and that the company would make money from 5G through "experiences" that leverage the super-fast speeds provided by the technology. He offered the example of a 5G service plan designed for real-time gaming.