Yesterday we heard Verizon’s view of 5G, from comments CFO Matt Ellis made during the company’s first quarter 2018 earnings call. My conclusion: Verizon is bullish on using the millimeter wave spectrum to provide fixed wireless access services, planning initial rollouts in three to five markets during the second half of this year.
Now, it’s AT&T’s turn. Listen to the 5G comments made by CFO John Stephens during AT&T’s first quarter earnings call on 25 April 2018:
Although AT&T has said it would be the first U.S. carrier to deploy mobile 5G services and would do so this year, Stephens’ comments suggest the company is more invested in selling its “5G Evolution” services — LTE with carrier aggregation, 4 x 4 MIMO, 256-QAM and LAA — than deploying 5G fixed wireless access or mobile services. He said "We're not as excited about the business case" for fixed wireless.
Millimeter Wave Coverage Differences
Another interesting difference between the two: Verizon claims to have demonstrated propagation over 2000 feet from the node using millimeter wave spectrum, presumably 28 GHz. AT&T says the company has achieved “gigabit-plus speeds under line-of-sight conditions to distances up to 900 feet.” 900 compared to 2000. Seems like the difference will have a pretty significant impact on the business case for residential fixed wireless access services.
What’s your assessment of the two operators’ commitments to 5G?