This week Verizon held their 1st quarter 2018 earnings call and gave new details about their 5G and live TV streaming plans. According to Verizon, they plan to have 5G launched in three to five markets by the end of 2018. From there Verizon plans to expand their roll out in 2019.
“All of those markets will launch in the second half of this year,” Verizon CFO Matt Ellis confirmed. At this time Verizon has only named Sacramento as one of the locations where it will launch 5G services this year.
During the call Verizon was asked about the launch of their new live TV streaming service. “We’ve got that underway,” Matt Ellis said. “We continue to look at OTT options, and as we’ve said previously, we’re not looking to launch a me-too product. But, certainly, we expect to have an overall product offering to consumers in those three to five markets that will be compelling and meet their needs.”
Now we are reading a lot into that statement but it clearly looks that Verizon’s live TV streaming service will not see a national rollout at launch. Instead, they plan to slowly roll it out market by market alongside their 5G rollout.
“You should expect to see spend in additional cities to be underway by the end of the year, so that we’re in a position to launch additional geographies in 2019. But that’s within our current capex guidance,” he said. “This really comes back to the design of the network over the past few years. By densifying the 4G network, we’ve put a lot of the infrastructure in place that we need to deploy 5G, especially by using millimeter-wave spectrum. So, we don’t see this as being a massive uptick [in capex]. This is not the same thing as when we adopted 4G and went from a CDMA-based 3G network to a 4G LTE network. This is a very different network rollout than we’ve seen in the capex going forward.”
As other networks are rolling out new equipment for 5G Verizon says that is not needed on their network. “We can launch 5G mobility on our existing assets,” Ellis said, noting that Verizon won’t need to purchase additional spectrum to offer mobile 5G services. “We are comfortable that we can launch 5G mobility with the assets that we have. 5G mobility will be initially very much heavily focused on urban areas, and we have the assets in place there and we will be ready to launch as soon as the OEMs have handsets available with 5G chipsets in them.”
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