Verizon says FWA growth won’t impact network capacity

With more than 1 million fixed wireless access (FWA) customers on its network as of the end of Q3, Verizon says it’s well on its way to reaching its goal of attracting 4 million to 5 million FWA customers by the end of 2025. However, CEO Hans Vestberg recently told investors at the UBS Global TMT investor conference that the company expects to have no capacity problems on its network and could even have more than 5 million FWA customers if it wants too.

Vestberg said that the company is only using about 60 MHz of its C-band spectrum but it actually has closer to 160 MHz of spectrum available so it has the extra capacity if needed. In addition, Vestberg said that the company doesn’t have to go back to each site to make any adjustments if it needs more capacity because it has already readied each site for additional capacity.

Vestberg noted that it will likely be another decade or so before the operator has to be concerned about capacity and that Verizon could always “split the cell” or add another tower if it needs to accommodate more customers. 

In terms of broadband speeds, Vestberg said that the company’s FWA service currently has three tiers. The FWA customers using mmWave spectrum typically get download speeds of 1-Gbps while those using C-band spectrum get closer to 300 Mbps. The customers using FWA over LTE get download speeds of 50 Mbps.

Vestberg also said that consumers use the company’s FWA broadband service just as much as they use its wired Fios broadband service and that most customers are in urban and suburban markets because Verizon doesn’t have as much 5G coverage in rural areas yet.

Enterprises pivot to private wireless

Vestberg also said that Verizon is moving traffic onto its 5G standalone (SA) core, a move that the operator announced in mid-October. Verizon’s 5G core is built on the Verizon Cloud Platform (VCP), a telco cloud that Verizon built internally based on software-defined networking.  Vestberg said that this will allow for higher speeds and new services. But edge computing may not be the first of those new services. Vestberg, a champion of mobile edge compute (MEC), acknowledged that MEC on the public cloud isn’t moving as quickly as he’d like and that enterprises have pivoted to private networks instead.

He added that initially many of these private networks are Wi-Fi substitution but he expects they will expand into more services.