Carriers serving areas where Verizon Wireless is available take heed. Verizon Wireless announced today that it is making its HomeFusion fixed wireless LTE offering available throughout its LTE footprint. That footprint currently covers 230 markets or about two-thirds of the U.S. population—and Verizon has said that it plans to build out LTE everywhere that it currently has 3G.

According to Verizon Wireless, HomeFusion supports speeds of 5 Mbps to 12 Mbps on the downlink and 2 Mbps to 5 Mbps on the uplink. At those speeds and at prices ranging from $60 to $120 monthly for between 10 GB and 30 GB of data, the service probably isn’t a big threat for customers that have higher-speed DSL, cable modem or fiber-to-the-home service. But the offering could be an attractive alternative to lower-speed DSL or satellite broadband. (HomeFusion customers who exceed their data cap will pay $10 per extra GB.)

HomeFusion was launched back in March in three markets, with another three added subsequently. A Verizon Wireless spokesperson declined to provide information about who’s buying the service. But the nationwide launch, following so quickly on the initial rollout, suggests the service is meeting or beating target take rates.

The first six markets where Verizon Wireless launched HomeFusion followed a pattern we have also seen with its cable company co-marketing partnerships. All of the announced markets were in areas where Verizon, the landline company, is not the incumbent local carrier.

But with today’s launch, Verizon Wireless has positioned itself to compete directly with its own landline business. HomeFusion probably isn’t much of a threat in FiOS markets, but it could further accelerate the decline of Verizon’s shrinking DSL base. The decision to go nationwide with HomeFusion likely was already made when Verizon revealed two weeks ago that it would no longer promote DSL.

Some industry observers have noted that since Lowell McAdam took over as Verizon CEO less than a year ago, he has viewed wireless as the company’s future. Bernstein Research analyst Craig Moffett went so far as to suggest that McAdam was throwing the landline business under the bus.

Moffett has been one of Verizon’s most vocal critics, arguing for example, that the company does not return its cost of capital and that the landline side of the business continues to lose traditional voice customers and must spread its fixed costs over a dwindling base. Apparently McAdam is taking that critique seriously. Some people have suggested that the company may eventually look at shutting down its landline plant.

It’s worth noting that HomeFusion will be installed by a company called Assurion, which means that if HomeFusion ultimately begins to replaces Verizon’s landline plant, the carrier also could find it has a lot few headaches involving union contracts.

It’s also worth noting that in some areas where Verizon Wireless does not plan to build out LTE service the company is working with rural carrier partners who will lease spectrum from Verizon to build their own networks that will interoperate with Verizon’s. As of now those carriers do not have access to the special antenna that supports HomeFusion, but one of the rural program participants told Telecompetitor this week that he is hoping that the HomeFusion equipment will be made part of the rural program in the future.

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10 thoughts on “What Verizon’s Nationwide Fixed LTE Launch Means for the Industry

  1. I still do not understand the use of LTE. With so many bands and 0 compatibility between carriers and nations, this seems like the worst technology in the mobile space ever. Also, LTE radios take more power to run. It's a shame we no longer have global standards. As the world gets smaller and people travel more often, we have decided to fragment this space further. The ITU should be ashamed for coming up with such a terrible solution for the future.

    1. It's not ITU's fault. Various countries have various bands available for the tech, and those bands in many cases do not overlap.

      It's not like this has not happened before. See Penta-band HSPA and quad band GSM handsets as examples.

      The problem can be solved as radio tech advances…I guarantee that in three or four years you'll see devices with enough bands to work globally…but the tech is still new right now, so band compatibility is limited.

      But hey, I'm okay with that, because I'm Typing this response on a device that can hit 30/10 Mbps (down/up) in this area of VZW's LTE footprint.

  2. If Verizon can achieve its goal of a complete LTE overlay of its existing 3G network by the middle of 2013, then this will be truly the time that high-speed broadband will be available to virtually the ENTIRE lower-48 of the U.S. All the government efforts to get broadband into the hinterlands accomplished nothing, but Verizon will have done it all by themselves, and in some cases, through their partnerships with regional cellphone carrirers via their LTE in Rural America program.

  3. Actually Glenn is a little optimistic. Verizon’s 3g footprint hardly covers the entire lower 48. They may have a nice looking footprint map, but there are vast parts of rural america with no 3g coverage at all, much less verizon 3g coverage.

  4. Yes, but Verizon's total footprint covers the vast majority of the occupied land area of the U.S. with their 3G service, and what Verizon does not cover themselves contains, among other companies, all those participants in Verizon's LTE in Rural America program, which fill in most of the remaining gaps when you look at their service territories. You aren't left with much, just mountains and deserts with very few people.

  5. An example: Look at Verizon's Oklahoma 3G coverage map, and you'll see that Verizon only covers about half the state. Verizon will launch LTE itself in all that 3G area. The rest of the state will be covered by 2 participants in the LTE in Rural America program, Pioneer Cellular and Cross Telephone, who operate in those areas. Therefore, the entire state will be covered with Verizon-compatible LTE by the end of 2013. There are many states in this situation.

  6. You guys are living in a dream world if you think Verizon and their LRA partners are going to solve the rural broadband issue in America. Even if they were able to cover all of the unserved and underserved markets that exist (which they will not), 3G/4G service is not adequate to deliver the bandwidth that customers will demand. What happens when 25% of the customers in that market are streaming Netflix at the same time?

    1.  You have a good point, but what other method is going to get you a 36 Mbps connection out in the hinterlands or in a small town where it’s uneconomical to run a fiber optic line to every home?  

  7. You have a good point, but what other method is going to get you a 36 Mbps connection out in the hinterlands or in a small town where it's uneconomical to run a fiber optic line to every home?

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