Verizon and AT&T are slowly revealing more details on their 2018 5G launch markets. Verizon announced today that Houston will be its third 5G market. The company previously said that it will launch 5G in Sacramento and Los Angeles, California. AT&T, meanwhile, revealed on Friday that it will launch 5G in Charlotte and Raleigh, North Carolina, and Oklahoma City. The company previously announced that it will launch 5G in Atlanta, and Dallas and Waco, Texas.
AT&T is planning to launch mobile 5G service in a dozen markets this year. The company said it is deliberately launching both mid-size and large markets. AT&T added that it has been working on 5G trials in South Bend, Indiana; Waco and Austin, Texas; and Kalamazoo, Michigan in preparation for its launch.
Interestingly Verizon also said that it will launch four 5G markets this year. Previously the operator would only confirm it was planning to launch the new technology in three to five markets. During its second quarter earnings call today, Verizon’s incoming CEO Hans Vestberg told investors that the company will launch fixed wireless 5G based upon the company’s pre-standard technology in these four markets. He also added that the company is preparing its network for the standards-based 5G technology and will upgrade as soon as the standards-based gear is available.
Verizon also revealed that it believes its 2018 capex spending will be closer to the low end of its guidance. The company earlier in the year had provided an estimated 2018 capex spending forecast of between $17 billion and $17.8 billion.
Vestberg said that the company is spending more on densifying its network with small cells rather than large macro towers and is able to be more efficient with its spending. But the company also is extending its fiber deployment to 50 markets outside its wireline footprint. Vestberg noted that the biggest customer for that fiber is Verizon’s wireless network.
“This is part of densifying the network and positioning it to excel at 5G,” Vestberg said.
He said that they are also looking at the upcoming millimeter wave (mmWave) spectrum auction but wouldn’t confirm whether Verizon will participate in that auction. The FCC earlier this year announced that it will auction mmWave spectrum in the 28 GHz and 24 GHz bands beginning in November. The commission is also planning another auction in the second half of 2019 that will include spectrum in the 37, 39, and 47 GHz bands.
Verizon reported operating revenues in the second quarter of $32.2 billion, a 5.4-percent increase from the $30.55 billion reported a year ago. The company also reported net income of $4.2 billion in the second quarter, which is down from $4.36 billion a year earlier. It also reported $1.20 in adjusted earnings per share.
Total capex spending for the quarter was $3.3 billion, bringing the first half capital spending to $7.8 billion.