Verizon’s fixed 5G improvements will boost the appeal of its broadband service (VZ)

Verizon plans a full commercial launch of its 5G fixed wireless home internet service, dubbed 5G Home, later this year, according to Verizon Consumer Group CEO Ronan Dunne cited by Light Reading.

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Verizon first launched a trial of 5G Home in four cities — Houston, Indianapolis, Los Angeles, and Sacramento — in October 2018. The initial Home 5G service has successfully attracted customers, around half of whom are new to the telecom, according to Verizon Chief Technology Officer Kyle Malady. But as Verizon looks to expand 5G Home to the 30 markets where it promised to launch mobile 5G services, the telecom has focused on two elements to improve its appeal among consumers.

  • Verizon plans to release a new customer premises equipment (CPE) receiver in 2020 to boost the range of its home networks, per Dunne. The new CPE receiver would expand the coverage in a customer's home, giving them a stronger signal even when further from their 5G wireless modem. This will allow Verizon to continue to provide reliable 5G coverage through the service — 90% of 5G Home traffic is over the carrier's 5G network, with less than 10% falling back on its 4G network.
  • It intends to allow consumers to install their own equipment.During its initial 5G Home launch, Verizon saw that 80% of customers could install their service's receiver antenna on their own, per Dunne. Enabling consumers to install equipment on their own reduces consumers' need to schedule their day around a visit from a technician, streamlining the startup process.

Verizon is looking to expand its home connectivity footprint with 5G.Verizon's current Fios fiber-based home internet service's coverage area stretches across nine states and has 5.8 million consumer internet connections.

Building out fiber-based home internet requires physical connections with a network of fiber-optic cables, but the fast data speeds and low latency of 5G fixed wireless will render cables running to individual homes unnecessary. 5G fixed wireless enables a company like Verizon, which already plans to roll out a nationwide 5G network, to offer home internet services in new areas without costly investments in new fiber installations.

Traditional home internet providers should brace for increased competition, as fixed 5G will enable wireless carriers to compete in the home broadband market. The broadband market is ripe for change as consumers are yearning for more options: Almost one-third (29%) of US households either have no service or lack a second option for wired broadband service, and that share jumps to over 61% for households in rural areas.

Broadband providers will likely face an uphill battle for subscribers as 5G fixed wireless access is projected to see rapid adoption — we expect by 2024 that almost 10% of US households will use 5G fixed wireless access. To retain customers amid increased competition from wireless networks, traditional home internet providers will need to lower prices and increase network quality.

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