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Verizon Consumer CEO: Strategy Is 5G Mobility First, Fixed Wireless Second

Verizon ended 2019 with it’s millimeter wave-based mobile 5G network available in parts of 31 markets, and also grew the footprint of its 5G Home residential broadband offering from an initial four markets to one additional, this time based on the global standard rather than the carrier’s Verizon Technical Forum specification.

Speaking this week at the Citi TMT West Conference, Verizon Consumer Group CEO Ronan Dunne said the operator’s focus on millimeter wave is based on a desire to provide a significantly differentiated experience than what LTE provides. He further noted Verizon’s ability to use dynamic spectrum sharing to extend 5G NR into lower bands to provide more wide area coverage.

In what read as a ding to T-Mobile US, which is offering nationwide 5G using 600 MHz spectrum, Dunne said Verizon is to some degree a victim of its own success in LTE. “I’m not scrambling, using 5G technology to make up for the fact that I either don’t have coverage or capacity in my 4G LTE network,” he said.

“Our focus on the millimeter wave has been very much pioneering. That’s been an investment for us in not just proving out the technology but making sure we were in the front of the drive to deploy,” Dunne continued. He wasn’t very specific in 2020 outlook for millimeter wave 5G build out but said, “We’ll continue to drive hard,” and focus deployment based on geographic traffic demand, 70% of which comes from “urban areas.”

Verizon’s initial cut at commercial 5G was 5G Home, a millimeter wave-based fixed wireless access service rolled out based on the Verizon Technical Forum tech stack developed by Verizon and a few partners. Late last year the carrier added an addition 5G Home market, this time using the global 5G New Radio specification. The company has previously discussed a long-term goal of 30 million subscribers, an effort to take on cable companies that are increasingly entering the wireless market by way of MVNO arrangements.

Dunne said 5G Home gives Verizon a wireless insurgency into cable and said the company’s MVNO deals with MSOs don’t conflict with the company’s primary strategy. He called a five to seven year horizon for hitting that 30 million 5G Home subscriber number. The executive made clear that the home rollout will come on the back of mobile network deployment noting, “There aren’t two networks being deployed.” He said the company won’t alter its mobile strategy to accelerate the adoption of a wireless home broadband service.―RCR Wireless News

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