Verizon shrinks 5G Home install time to under an hour

It looks as though Verizon has managed to get the install time on its 5G Home Internet product down to a level that CEO Hans Vestberg can get behind.

Developing the product into a form factor that was self-installable was a key goal, and now, 70% of the people who are doing the self-install on the 5G Home product are completely successful and do not need any kind of assistance from a third party, EVP and Group CEO of Verizon Consumer Ronan Dunne said during the company’s virtual meeting with sell-side analysts on Wednesday.

In fact, they’re seeing self-install times as low as 40 minutes for the 5G fixed wireless access (FWA) product and throughput speeds on average of 1 Gigabit per second. On Verizon’s 4G LTE Home product, they’re seeing install times of five minutes.

Verizon 5G Home Gateway
Verizon 5G Home CPE

During the company’s second-quarter earnings call this past summer, Vestberg had said he wanted the 5G Home install time to be below one hour but didn’t say exactly how long it was taking. Still, compared to a traditional fiber installation, where the customer needs to make an appointment and then wait sometimes weeks for someone to install it, he described it as “transformative,” a notion he reinforced this week.

Vestberg on Wednesday said they’re pleased with the progression of the technology. Verizon spent a considerable amount of time perfecting the service, which competes against the incumbent wired and cable service providers.

For months, Vestberg said they were waiting for the improved CPU based on a better chip, and that arrived for customers this fall, with a home router powered by Qualcomm’s QTM527 antenna.  Customers can use an augmented reality (AI) smartphone app to find the best place to mount the gear on a wall or window in their home and the 5G gateway will confirm a 5G signal is available.

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With the previous iteration, they didn’t have as powerful a CPE and that’s making a difference. “I’m excited,” Vestberg said. Plus, it’s not only a product for the home; small and medium businesses also may be interested.

Earlier this month, Verizon expanded the 5G Home Internet to four more cities, for a total of 12. It now offers it in the following markets: Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, Denver, Detroit, Houston, Indianapolis, Los Angeles, Minneapolis, Sacramento, San Jose and St. Paul. It’s being sold through Verizon Wireless retail stores.

Besides FWA, Verizon’s services targeting users in their homes include Mix & Match on Fios, the wireline service it offers in Northeastern markets. In its third-quarter results, Verizon posted its strongest performance in Fios in about five years.

RELATED: Verizon CEO: COVID-19 crisis reinforces FWA strategy

A few years ago Verizon said it planned to target 30 million homes with its FWA 5G service, and Vestberg said that target has not changed.  

Some 50% of the people taking the 5G Home product are existing wireless customers; the other 50% are new target opportunities to expand its wireless business, according to Dunne. Verizon offers 5G Home for $50 per month for Verizon customers and $70 per month for non-Verizon customers. Its LTE Home Internet costs $40 per month for Verizon customers and $60 per month for non-Verizon customers.

T-Mobile has promised to make home-based FWA a bigger deal in 2021. Earlier this week, it announced the expansion of its fixed wireless LTE Internet pilot to more locations. More specific timing for the wireless 5G home broadband expansion wasn’t disclosed.