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Verizon’s 5G aspirations put on hold

Written on Sunday, 03 February 2019 09:20

US telecommunications operator Verizon has said its proposed deployment of 5G services remains on track, but its CEO Hans Vestberg conceded that its plans to expand 5G services to the home has encountered issues.

Verizon has planned to invest significantly in its 5G home internet product portfolio, but that has been derailed because of the delay in the release of standards-based equipment.

The US telecommunications behemoth launched its residential 5G product to much fanfare in four US cities in October last year using a proprietary standard – and at the time it had indicated that it planned to transition to 3GPP New Radio standard for its mobile launch and subsequent fixed expansion.

However, Verizon’s CEO informed investors and shareholders during an earnings call that it may now take to longer than originally expected for 5G NR home equipment to become available as smartphone launches take precedence.

The CEO said, “As the industry is evolving, the first focus for the industry is actually to do chipsets for smartphones and then secondary the next generation of chipsets comes on the CPE side.”

In addition to this, Vestberg said he projects standards-based 5G equipment to become available in the second-half of 2019, with handsets due to appear on the market in Q1.

The US operators’ major competitors such as AT&T and T-Mobile US have all outlined their 5G plans - but Verizon’s CEO declined to unveil their 5G plans for competitive reasons.

The latest announcement from Verizon in relation 5G comes on the back of disappointing financial results for Q4 in 2018, with consolidated revenue up 1 per cent year-on-year to $34.3 billion. Full year 2018 revenue of $130.9 billion increased nearly 4 per cent from $126 billion in 2017.

In addition to this, it was disclosed that net income attributable to Verizon plummeted to $1.9 billion in Q4 from $18.7 billion in Q4 2017, though it should be noted the latter figure included a one-time tax perk of $16.8 billion.

Verizon’s 5G progress isn’t expected to have a significant impact on its financials in 2019: it projected only low single-digit percentage revenue growth for the full year. That guidance reiterated previous statements given by CFO Matt Ellis which indicated that 5G wouldn’t have a substantial impact on results until at least 2020.

Published in Telecom Operators