Although Verizon launched its fixed 5G wireless service in four markets in October, and AT&T plans to launch its mobile 5G service in 12 markets by year-end, neither company believes that 5G will have an impact on revenues until at least 2020.
During the Morgan Stanley European Technology, Media & Telecom Conference held this week in Barcelona, Spain, the CFOs from both AT&T and Verizon told investors that they do not expect the upgrade to the latest generation of wireless technology to have any meaningful impact on their revenues in 2019, and it’s hard to predict how much of an impact 5G will have on revenue in 2020.
“In five years I believe we will wonder how we lived without it,” said John Stephens, CFO and senior executive vice president of AT&T. “But it will take some time to evolve.”
Stephens noted that AT&T is working closely with a variety of business customers in its Foundry locations to develop open source applications that will run on 5G networks and make enterprises more efficient.
Matt Ellis, CFO of Verizon, also told Morgan Stanley that 5G won’t have much impact on revenue in 2019, but the company expects that to pick up in 2020.
Enterprise Adoption Will Be Big
While 5G applications such as virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) may initially attract a lot of attention from consumers, both CFOs said that they believe the enterprise and industrial market will likely benefit the most from 5G.
Ellis said that 5G will fundamentally change how companies run their businesses. “Because of the massive throughput, because of the low latency and a whole host of other improvements with 5G, we think, over time, the B2B adoption of applications and technologies using 5G in ways that fundamentally change how their business is run is a significant upside,” Ellis said, according to a Seeking Alpha transcript.