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Verizon’s CFO says FWA is not a short-term game

Verizon CFO Matt Ellis disagrees with the argument that fixed wireless access (FWA) is a short-term product that can’t meet capacity needs. Instead, Verizon can continue to apply spectrum and capacity to ensure FWA performance meets the needs of residential and commercial customers, he said.


But with Verizon offering speeds above 300 Mbit/s through its growing C-band network, and much of the wired broadband world, including Verizon’s own Fios service, pushing for speeds in the thousands of megabits, the question tends to come up.


Today, Verizon is using C-band spectrum to augment its 5G-based FWA offerings, and there are still opportunities to add millimeter wave spectrum in some areas, he said.


Verizon began supplementing its FWA platform with C-band spectrum in mid-January. After acquiring 60MHz of capacity in the band, Verizon expects to increase it to 160MHz in the coming year.


The company has opened access to C-band in 46 markets and expects to add 30 more sometime in the fourth quarter of this year. Much of the C-band activity, including total subscriber gains, is coming from urban and suburban areas, Ellis said.


Ellis noted that Verizon is currently offering 5G-based FWA to more than 10 million homes, and reiterated that the company expects to increase that number to 50 million locations by 2025. “Certainly, I think the numbers have a chance to get flatter. Bigger, “he added.


Ellis also expects FWA subscriber growth to accelerate over the rest of 2022 as Verizon deploys more C-band sites and expands the marketing reach of these services. Verizon added a record 194,000 FWA subscribers in the first quarter of 2022, up from 78,000 in the previous quarter. The second quarter of 2022 will be the first full quarter that Verizon has C-band (it began to enable C-band on January 19).


Verizon is sourcing FWA submarines from multiple segments of the market, Ellis said. But he added that most of them are existing broadband customers, including some DSL customers that are open to switches.


At another investor conference last week, Verizon Business Executive Vice President and CEO Tami Erwin noted that 80 percent of the company’s FWA business services customers use the technology as their “primary use case” rather than as a secondary backup connection.