Verizon’s 5G Future Tied to Spectrum, Technology Advances

Verizon today said the foundation for 5G is being built now, but many of the most transformational aspects of the technology such as mobile edge computing, dynamic spectrum sharing, devices, and refarmed low-band spectrum to support 5G won’t arrive until 2020 or later. “5G has been a huge focus for us,” Verizon CEO Hans Vestberg said on the company’s latest earnings call. With its standards-based mobile 5G network now available in select neighborhoods of Chicago and Minneapolis, and plans to reach 30 cities by the end of the year, the operator will “continue to deploy infrastructure in more cities, prioritizing cities that have made it easy to build there,” he said. “Our initial launches are performing as expected,” and more features and enhancements will become available through software, Vestberg said. “We’re now two years into the implementation of our next-generation intelligent edge network, which we expect to be largely completed by 2021. We’re realizing significant efficiencies and cost savings from our network transformation initiatives.” Capital spending during the first quarter of 2019 was down 6.5% year-over-year to $4.3 billion, and the company is maintaining a full-year capex guidance range of between $17 billion and $18 billion. “Our capital expenditures continue to support the growth in data and video traffic on our industry leading 4G LTE network, the launch and continued buildout of our 5G ultra wideband network, the upgrade to our intelligent edge network, and significant fiber deployment,” CFO Matthew Ellis said during the earnings call. “We have maintained our disciplined approach to capital allocation, focused on investing in our networks,” and “we’re well positioned to deliver on all of our capital allocation goals in the years ahead,” Vestberg said.

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