Verizon it absolutely targeting cable companies with its 5G Home internet service. But it also wants to be the cable guys’ “best long-term partner,” said Ronan Dunne, EVP of Verizon and president of Verizon Wireless.
Dunne, speaking at the Citi 2019 Global TMT West Conference in Las Vegas on Tuesday, said Verizon can have it both ways.
“We are committed to being the best long-term partner for the MSOs [multiple system operators],” he said, according to a Seeking Alpha transcript. “It’s a very important relationship to us. We’re also committed to lose less than our fair share of our branded business to the MSOs.”
This may sound duplicitous, but it’s true. While Verizon competes against cable with its residential 5G service, cable operators Comcast and Charter Communications both have mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) deals with Verizon under which they lease Verizon’s network.
So while Verizon wants to steal some of cable’s share of the market — and its initial 5G Home service targets cities dominated by either Comcast or Charter — it also makes money from these MVNO agreements. In other words: it’s a complicated relationship.
Verizon 5G Home
The carrier launched its 5G Home service last October. It’s a fixed wireless technology where Verizon installs equipment in a neighborhood and people can get their home internet over the air instead of having a wire into their home from cable. This allows customers to “get rid of everything you hate about cable,” the website says.
Verizon calls it 5G, but the service uses a proprietary technology that does not currently align with internationally recognized standards bodies. The carrier has said it plans to update the technology underlying the service to a standards-based 5G model as it becomes available.
While Verizon has initially focused its 5G deployment in urban areas, it also plans to branch out to campus locations. Dunne said these include retail and education. It will also look to provide service to clusters of homes in small, rural environments where Verizon has 5G networks in place.
Millimeter Wave Spectrum
On another 5G topic, Verizon is using millimeter wave (mmWave) spectrum to support its 5G service, which Dunne said is “core to a true 5G experience” because it enables a massive capacity increase and ultra-low latency needed for 5G.
“And what it also does is it lifts traffic off of the 4G LTE network in a way that actually liberates 4G LTE capacity, ultimately liberating more of that spectrum to be redeployed as 5G spectrum,” he said.
About half of Verizon’s existing mmWave spectrum holding is used for 4G LTE, Dunne said. “I think people really underestimate the fact that the millimeter wave not only gives you something [lower latency], it also increments the value of all of the other holdings to that.”