Verizon for the first time provided subscribership information about its fixed wireless services known as Verizon 5G Home Internet and Verizon LTE Home Internet. The company said the net new consumer and business additions for the services were 55,000 in the third quarter of 2021.
This was a substantial portion of 129,000 total net broadband adds. The other 74,000 net adds came from customers signing on for Fios and DSL services.
Fixed wireless net additions for the third quarter of 2019 and 2020 were “not significant,” Verizon said in the slide presentation that accompanied today’s earnings results webcast.
“Both our 5G and 4G LTE [offerings] are performing well,” said Verizon Chief Financial Officer Matt Ellis on today’s third quarter earnings webcast. “We are pleased with what we’re seeing around the installation process, as well as the quality and reliability of the product.”
Ellis reported the company now has approximately 150K total fixed wireless subscribers, making it one of the largest fixed wireless providers in the U.S.
National Broadband Provider Strategy
Verizon sees fixed wireless as a necessary component for the company to become a “national” fixed broadband provider. The company’s Fios fiber footprint wouldn’t qualify as national in reach, since it’s concentrated in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic only.
“Our strategy is becoming a national broadband provider, with the best access to tech for our customer, includes Fios, fixed wireless access on 5G, 4G millimeter-wave and C-Band,” said Verizon CEO Hans Vestberg on today’s earnings call, according to a Seeking Alpha transcript.
Verizon initially launched fixed wireless service in four markets in 2018 using 5G deployed in the company’s millimeter wave spectrum – an approach that supports fast internet speeds but over relatively short distances.
Since then, the company has launched that service in more than 50 additional markets. And in 2020, the company began offering the LTE version of the service, which supports somewhat lower speeds over greater distances.
Currently, the LTE version of the offering is available in over 200 markets in 50 states. The 5G version is in parts of 57 markets, and coverage is likely to expand moving forward, as the company plans to use the mid-band spectrum in the C-band that it acquired in this year’s auction for 5G, including fixed and mobile service.
“We are building momentum and our pre-C-band success in Q3 demonstrates there is demand for the product from consumers and businesses,” said Ellis today.
Verizon fixed wireless is now available to 11.6 million households, including 2 million that have the 5G millimeter wave version available to them. The company is on track to have service available to 15 million homes by year-end, Ellis said.
The slide presentation also noted that “the majority” of fixed wireless customer premises equipment in Tier 1 markets is capable of supporting LTE and C-band connectivity, which suggests that those markets are targeted to receive the 5G C-band version of the offering.
Verizon has been deploying fixed wireless in areas where it doesn’t have Fios. The company initially identified a potential market of 30 million for the service but increased that number to 50 million after it won the C-band spectrum.