Verizon CEO sees FWA as ‘the next generation of broadband’

Verizon CEO Hans Vestberg highlighted continued momentum in its Fios business, but pointed to fixed wireless access (FWA) as a key tool in its quest to expand its broadband reach further and faster.

Speaking during a Goldman Sachs investor conference, Vestberg explained that Fios and its 4G and 5G FWA products are part of a patchwork of solutions the operator is leveraging to deliver a “full nationwide broadband offering.” He added FWA gives the operator an opportunity to serve up broadband to its sprawling base of wireless customers outside its ILEC footprint.

“We’re going to have different solutions depending on the customer, but ultimately our goal is that we’re going to address the full market of broadband and we think that there are definitely underserved parts where we can come very strongly with our fixed wireless access, we can come quicker,” he said. “It’s the next generation of broadband. That’s how we see it.”

Earlier this month, Verizon announced its 5G Home internet service is now live in parts of 57 cities. Its 4G FWA offering is much more broadly available, covering 48 states. The operator previously outlined plans to reach 15 million homes with FWA by the end of this year, nearly 30 million by 2023 and 50 million by 2025.

For comparison, its Fios service is available to roughly 15 million locations across eight states in New England and the Mid-Atlantic regions. As of the end of Q2 2021, Verizon had approximately 6.7 million Fios subscribers.

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However, Vestberg noted the operator’s Fios business continues to chug along and stated strong momentum seen over the past three quarters is expected to linger given changing work patterns which require strong home broadband connections.

He added Verizon sees an opportunity to continue to differentiate and grow revenue from its broadband offerings by bundling various offers from partners, as it’s already done with content from Disney +.

“We still have a lot of new things we can add to it. We just started with I would say content streaming, we are now into gaming, we have been into music,” Vestberg said. “There might be more areas where our customers are going to benefit and we’re going to benefit from our distribution and network platform together with all the partners to see that we can continue that journey of incremental ARPA and service growth.”