Amazon AWS and Verizon Business Expand 5G Collaboration with Private MEC Solution

AWS and Verizon Business have expanded their 5G collaboration to provide private multi-access edge computing (Private MEC) for enterprises. Private MEC integrates edge computing infrastructure with private networks deployed on or near the customer’s premises. AWS and Verizon have integrated Verizon’s 5G Edge MEC platform with AWS Outposts [1.], a fully managed service that offers the same AWS Infrastructure, AWS services, APIs, and tools to virtually any data center, colocation space, or on-premises facility for a consistent, hybrid experience.

Note 1. Outposts is AWS’ on-premises option that involves data center equipment being installed at an enterprise facility. It uses AWS infrastructure, services, APIs, and tools to support a hybrid cloud service. Verizon is offering several form factor options of Outposts, include 1U and 2U deployments.

AWS initially launched Outposts in late 2019. “Instead of building this funky bridge between two things,” on-premises data centers and the cloud, Outposts brings native AWS services into on-premises data centers while “seamlessly connecting to AWS’s broad array of services in the cloud,” AWS CEO Andy Jassy explained at the time.

Outposts is similar to competing offers like Microsoft’s Azure Arc, Google’s Anthos, and IBM’s Cloud Satellite. AWS last month also struck a deal with Nokia to combine Outposts with the telecom vendor’s RAN and edge equipment to target the enterprise space.

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Verizon Business customers will be able to tap into the combination to deploy a fully managed private mobile edge compute network within their on-premises environment that can handle low-latency applications like intelligent logistics, robotics, and factory automation.

MEC deployment across different enterprise networks. Source: ETSI

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According to Amazon,  cloud migrations are often inhibited by residency or privacy constraints that prevent data from leaving the premises, strict compute latency requirements, or the need for cloud infrastructure to connect directly to onsite equipment. Similarly, many workloads involve huge volume of data, making transfers to the cloud infeasible due to limited available network bandwidth and timing constraints.

Furthermore, enterprise applications commonly depend on local wired or Wi-Fi networks to transport data locally. While wired networks can provide acceptable performance, they are expensive to upgrade, reroute, and extend. On the other hand, enterprise Wi-Fi offers simplicity and cost-effectiveness, but offers less manageability and suffers from coverage, capacity, reliability, security, and handoff issues.

The Private MEC solution deployed on AWS Outposts addresses these challenges by providing a secure, dedicated cloud computing platform and reliable on-premises wireless networking based on 5G, all using a single infrastructure deployment. The private 5G network offers better performance, control, reliability, and density than existing options. Combined with the AWS services brought by AWS Outposts, we are enabling Enterprise customers to deploy low latency, high-performance applications on their premises, leveraging both the benefits of 5G and the cloud, locally. By leveraging Private MEC enterprises can host workloads in emerging areas such as Industry 4.0; for example, Private MEC and private 5G can facilitate deeper integration between IT and operational technology (OT) systems in manufacturing facilities.

Private MEC also supports many use cases beyond the factory. Events and venues, such as sports, concerts, and theme parks can use Private MEC to provide enhanced experiences with AR/VR, live information overlays, multi-camera, multiple angle views, and personalized instant replays. Healthcare providers use Private MEC for real-time diagnostics over 5G for rapid access to radiological scans on-site and local processing of sensitive patient data. Schools and universities can benefit from Private MEC by servicing students in rural areas without adequate broadband coverage to run applications like virtual desktops. We are excited about the innovations that Private MEC solutions can unlock across industries, and continue to work with customers to power their innovation with edge computing.

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Amazon AWS is also working with Corning Incorporated, a leading materials science and advanced manufacturing innovator, and Verizon to deploy a Private MEC solution on AWS Outposts at the Corning factory in Hickory, North Carolina. Corning uses AWS Outposts to run computer vision software from Gestalt Robotics that provides autonomous navigation and advanced environmental sensing. Corning recently installed an AWS Outposts rack that places the power of the AWS cloud within the four walls of its optical cable plant in Hickory, North Carolina.

The AWS capabilities that Outposts delivers, combined with the ultra-low latency, high throughput of the private 5G network, provide a powerful platform upon which Corning will innovate with applications never before possible, such as real-time analysis of large volumes of high-resolution video streams from across the factory and integration of high-data-rate automation systems. In factory environments like this, Amazon EC2 instances with GPU acceleration provide the necessary computing power to run Computer Vision (CV) and AI/ML workloads efficiently, enabling real-time control of Autonomous Mobile Robots (AMRs) that roam the factory floors.

The software running on the Private MEC service can guide the AMRs safely and speedily through a factory, avoiding people and obstacles while ferrying their payloads from point to point. The Private 5G network enables reliable, low-latency transmission of rich sensor data (lidar, vibration, temperature, audio) from these AMRs and other industrial devices located throughout the factory. Importantly, this enables operators to observe a live stream of video in near real-time and intervene when necessary.

The same computer vision technology used by the AMRs for navigation and safety can also be used to detect and inventory raw material and finished goods in a factory. Mobile video streams from the AMRs can be combined with feeds from cameras installed in the factory and onsite sensor inputs and RFIDs for accurate counting and tracking. In addition, integration with Manufacturing Execution Systems (MES) running on Outposts enables real-time monitoring, automation, and optimization, as raw material is turned into the final product.

This opens up possibilities such as performing predictive maintenance and servicing of onsite machinery without the need to ship massive amounts of sensor data over network links into the cloud. Private MEC solutions like this enable factories to become even smarter and leverage the power of innovation that AWS brings to the cloud, while simplifying the deployment and management of on-premise networking with the latest 5G technologies.

References:

https://aws.amazon.com/blogs/industries/aws-and-verizon-expand-5g-collaboration-with-private-mec-solution/

https://aws.amazon.com/outposts/

https://www.sdxcentral.com/articles/news/verizon-adds-aws-outposts-to-5g-edge-plan/2021/04/

Private MEC solutions

Verizon 5G Edge

https://www.etsi.org/images/files/ETSITechnologyLeaflets/MultiAccessEdgeComputing.pdf

Corning

 

Verizon Business wins Private 5G contract in the UK

Verizon Communications Inc. won a contract to erect and operate a private 5G network in Southampton, England (United Kingdom), for Associated British Ports Holdings, its first industrial 5G award in Europe.  The #1 U.S. wireless telco beat out local telecommunications companies and is jump starts a push to sell the wireless systems to global businesses.

  • Verizon teams up with Nokia to offer private 5G capabilities to enterprises in Europe and Asia-Pacific
  • Private 5G will enable organizations to deliver mission critical and real-time capabilities
  • Announcement marks Verizon’s continued investment in 5G and network-as-a-service strategy

A private 5G network is a self-contained network whose components all reside in a single facility, consisting of micro towers and small cells and connects to an organization’s Local Area Network (LAN) and enterprise applications. It will utilize Nokia’s Digital Automation Cloud, a private wireless network solution with automation enablers that will allow for application deployment through a web-based interface.

New York-based Verizon opened a showroom in London last year and spoke about its hopes to muscle in on 5G enterprise deals beyond the U.S. It’s a sign competition is heating up in the segment, seen as a key way to fuel growth in the otherwise stagnant telecommunications sector for local carriers like Newbury, England-based Vodafone Group Plc.

“We chose Verizon simply just due to the track record within setting up private 5G networks,” said Henrik Pedersen, chief executive officer of ABP, in a video call with Bloomberg. “Regional or local, I don’t see it like this. I see 5G as a global thing.”

Southampton is a crucial British terminal which usually handles about 900,000 cars and sees millions of cruise ship passengers per year. It’s upgrading its network as the port adapts to its new status as a freeport, one of several low-tariff business zones on the British coast that U.K. chancellor Rishi Sunak unveiled last month as part of his plans to stimulate post-Brexit trade.

Verizon’s 5G network will remove dead spots and increase bandwidth at the port, ultimately enabling new systems, such as using drones that can transmit high-definition video for maintenance checks, and sending live shipping data, Pedersen said.

“There’ll be a lot of need for data transfer in the future in the freeport zone, and especially when you start to move goods in and out of the customs zones,” said Pedersen. He said he wants the system up and running by July, and added that more of ABP’s 21 ports are likely to get 5G networks in the future.

“Today, we’ve announced the next phase of Verizon’s global 5G vision with the launch of private 5G for our international customers,” said Tami Erwin, CEO, Verizon Business. “If the past few months have taught us anything, it’s that there’s never been a more critical time for mobility, broadband and cloud products and services. Private 5G networks will be a transformative technology that will drive the new era of disruption and innovation for enterprises around the world.”

“Private wireless connectivity has become central to many industries in realizing their long-term digital transformation goals. By delivering private 5G together with Verizon, we’re paving the way to accelerate digitalization for the most demanding industries who crave reliable wireless connectivity,” said Brian R. Fitzgerald, SVP Global Solutions at Nokia.

“We’re seeing international markets moving rapidly to deploy 5G Private Networks, which appears as a major use case for the uptake of 5G, particularly in order to capitalize on 5G investments in the enterprise market.  With the ingredients of an early mover go-to-market 5G-know-how, foundational enterprise networking and innovative 5G enabled services Verizon’s go-to-market recipe with Nokia will be an attractive solution to the broader market,” said Martina Kurth, associate vice president of IDC’s European Telco Research practice.

Today’s announcement follows recent MEC partnership announcements with  MicrosoftCisco,  IBM and AWS. In August, Verizon recently announced its successful completion of lab trials with Corning and Samsung on its new 5G mmWave in-building solutions.

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References:

https://www.verizon.com/about/news/verizon-business-takes-private-5g-global

https://www.bnnbloomberg.ca/verizon-beats-out-european-carriers-to-run-5g-at-u-k-freeport-1.1585233

 

Verizon Outlines Plans for C-Band and mmWave 5G, Business Internet and MEC

C-Band auction results:

Verizon has outlined its plans to expand 5G network coverage using the spectrum it acquired in the recent C-band auction.  The company pledged to cover 100 million Americans with its new C-band 5G network—which it will brand as “ultra wideband”—by next March

Verizon succeeded in more than doubling its existing mid-band spectrum holdings by adding an average of 161 MHz of C-Band nationwide for $52.9 billion including incentive payments and clearing costs.

Verizon won between 140 and 200 megahertz of C-Band spectrum in every available market. Specifically, Verizon:

  • Secured a minimum 140 megahertz of total spectrum in the contiguous United States and an average of 161 megahertz nationwide; that’s bandwidth in every available market, 406 markets in all.
  • Secured a consistent 60 megahertz of early clearing spectrum in the initial 46 markets – this is the swath of spectrum targeted for clearing by the end of 2021, home to more than half of the U.S. population.
  • Secured up to 200 megahertz in 158 mostly rural markets covering nearly 40 million people. This will further enhance Verizon’s broadband solution portfolio for rural America.

The auction results represent a 120 percent increase in Verizon’s spectrum holdings in sub-6 gigahertz bands. The quality of this spectrum and Verizon’s depth of licensed holdings represent the premier asset in the industry. In addition, C-Band is a widely used spectrum band throughout the world and will allow for roaming opportunities and economies of scale. The spectrum bands Verizon won are contiguous, which will streamline deployment of this spectrum across the mainland United States.

At an analysts meeting on Wednesday evening, the company said the improved services will help it accelerate wireless network service revenue growth.  Verizon expects growth of at least 2 percent this year, 3 percent in 2022 and 2023 and 4 percent or more in 2024. It’s committed an extra $10 billion in capex over the next three years to support the additional 5G network roll-out.  Projected spending this year is in the range of $17.5-18.5 billion.

5G mmWave:  The super-fast 5G mmWave network that Verizon launched two years ago has seen slow growth, even though Verizon has put up 17,000 cell sites. It’s a very short-range technology, and it’s best used in places like stadiums, concert halls, and convention centers—all the places that have been hardest hit by the pandemic.

Only 5% of Verizon’s total network usage will be on millimeter-wave by the end of 2021, although that could double if stadiums fill up again, according to Verizon CTO Kyle Malady. Only 9% of the carrier’s postpaid customer base has mmWave-capable phones.

Ultimately, he sees as much as 50% of 5G network usage moving to mmWave in dense cities.  Of course, that involves people going outside to use it, because mmWave requires line of sight communications so can’t penetrate building walls or other structures.

Verizon is looking at using millimeter-wave for focused backhaul, which will let it put up more rural sites quickly without worrying about running fiber to them.

The company intends to put up another 14,000 millimeter-wave sites this year, Malady said. There’s still technical room for improvement with millimeter-wave, he added. Verizon is working with three different repeater vendors to improve range without adding entire new sites, and he has a “roadmap with Qualcomm” for better beamforming and software features to improve both range and latency.

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In the next 12 months, Verizon expects to have incremental 5G bandwidth via the new spectrum available to 100 million people in the initial 46 markets, delivering 5G Ultra Wideband performance on C-Band spectrum. Over 2022 and 2023, coverage is expected to increase to more than 175 million people and by 2024 and beyond, when the remaining C-Band is cleared, more than 250 million people are expected to have access to Verizon’s 5G Ultra Wideband service on C-Band spectrum.

In addition, Verizon is committing to an additional $10 billion in capital expenditures over the next three years to deploy C-Band as quickly as possible. This spend will be in addition to the current capital expenditure guidance of $17.5B-$18.5B for 2021, which is expected to be at comparable levels through 2023.

C-Band spectrum in Verizon’s Network:

More than 70% of the 5G devices in the hands of customers today are C-Band compatible. Every iPhone 12 model is C-Band compatible. The Samsung Galaxy S21 series and Google Pixel 5 are also compatible. Going forward, all new 5G handsets Verizon brings to market to postpaid customers will be C-Band compatible, with more than 20 C-Band compatible devices offered by the end of the year.

The acquisition of this C-Band spectrum will be a critical component in Verizon’s 5G broadband strategy — 5G Home and 5G Business Internet.

5G Home: By the end of this year, Verizon expects to cover nearly 15 million homes with its home broadband product, and by the end of 2023, 30 million homes, using both 4G and 5G.

To accompany the growth in fixed broadband offerings, the company introduced new 5G Home devices which will be simple for customers to install in their homes – including the Internet Gateway, and the Verizon Smart Display, which join the Verizon 5G Internet Gateway. All three devices will have a sleek design and ‘self setup’ featuring AR guidance, simple instruction videos, and in-app chat and call support.

5G Home internet, the super fast service with download speeds up to 1 Gbps, depending on location, is currently available in 18 markets, with one to two million households expected to be covered via mmWave by end of 2021 and a total of 15 million with LTE Home and the arrival of the first tranche of C-Band. Verizon has teamed up with some of the best content providers in the industry to bring customers plenty of options for all their gaming and streaming needs.

5G Business Internet: 5G Business Internet complements the full suite of Verizon Business tools and offerings, including OneTalk voice communications, BlueJeans by Verizon video-collaboration platform, advanced security and other business services.

By using a high powered fixed 5G receiver, business customers will be able to access the broadband speeds they need with the reliability from Verizon they have come to expect. 5G Business Internet is now available in three markets on mmWave with plans to bring the product to 20 more before the end of the year.

Accelerate 5G Edge:

Verizon Business is well positioned to capture significant edge compute share and is in-market today with both public and private MEC models in collaboration with leading cloud providers. With the addition of C-Band spectrum, the company expects a wider and faster path to monetization.

By the end of 2022, the total edge compute addressable market in the U.S. is estimated to reach $1 billion, and by 2025, rapid adoption of Edge Compute is estimated to create a $10 billion addressable marketplace.

Public MEC Model: Last year, the company partnered with AWS: Wavelength and immediately connected AWS’s 1 million plus developer community to the nearly 170 million end-devices across Verizon’s 4G and 5G Nationwide networks at the edge. Developers today are building use cases spanning a wide array of commercial applications – all through an easy on-ramp in the AWS portal where they can move their workloads to the edge of our network, automatically triggering a recurring revenue share for Verizon and AWS. This partnership enables Verizon Business to be a key participant in this growing opportunity with C-Band accelerating our reach and time to market.

Private MEC Model: Last year, Verizon Business announced a collaboration with Microsoft to deliver a Private MEC model for customers that want a completely dedicated edge compute infrastructure on-premise to provide unique connectivity for their employees, enable data-intensive applications and benefit from solutions like computer vision, augmented reality and machine learning – all built to increase productivity, provide enhanced security and reduce latency in ways that wi-fi cannot.

This fully integrated Verizon 5G solution includes:

  • Verizon Private Edge, which combines the power of Microsoft Azure cloud and edge capabilities with 5G on the customer premise.
  • Verizon Private network connectivity, which is forecast to be a $10 billion dollar global market by 2025.
  • Co-developed real-time enterprise solutions like Intelligent Logistics, Predictive Maintenance, Robotics and Factory Automation, which give Verizon Business a direct line of sight to another $12 billion applications and solutions addressable opportunity by 2025 that will be commercialized through a growing partner ecosystem, including IBM, Cisco, Deloitte and SAP.

The demand for MEC services unlocks an estimated Verizon total market that is forecast to exceed $30 billion by 2025, revenue that will be shared with partners.

Verizon expects to increase service revenues by shifting people to higher-tier unlimited (text, talk, Internet) cellular plans.

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Quotes from Executives:

Hans Vestberg, Chairman and CEO of Verizon

FCC C-Band auction results
“Today is one of the most significant days in our 20-year history. This was a highly successful auction for Verizon – a once in a lifetime opportunity – and I am thrilled with what we were able to accomplish.”

Verizon’s strategy
“Our growth model is based on a clear vision: We are a multi-purpose network company with the best networks architected by the best engineers on the planet. This idea of a multi-purpose network at scale is our strategic foundation to maximize growth and put us in a position to realize the best return on investment in the fully-networked economy.”

Verizon’s competitive advantage 
“Since we began building 5G, we have had a first mover advantage. We are more than a year ahead in building and selling mmWave with our 5G Ultra Wideband service and still the only company with commercial Mobile Edge Compute. Now we intend to extend our lead by accelerating our deployment of C-Band. Our new C-Band position combined with our mmWave, means we are the only carrier suited to deploy the fastest, most powerful 5G experience to the most people – or as we call it, 5G built right.”

Ronan Dunne, CEO of Verizon Consumer Group

5G adoption
“Customers are migrating to 5G in earnest. As of YE 2020, 9% of our Consumer postpaid phone base were on a 5G device. With the exciting device lineup we have in store, and the superior 5G experience that we deliver, we expect to reach 50% some 18 months ahead of GSMA forecast, and end 2023 ahead of even the more ambitious Ericsson Mobility Report forecast.”

5G devices
“Overall we have 10M 5G Ultra Wideband devices in the hands of customers on our network today. And of those, approximately 70% are already C-Band compatible. Going forward all new 5G handsets we sell to postpaid customers will be C-Band compatible.”

Step ups
“We have seen tremendous step-ups from our customers from Metered to Unlimited and Unlimited to Premium Unlimited as we discussed back in November. We continue to see this with over 20% of our postpaid accounts ending the year on a Premium Unlimited plan. We expect this number to grow to over 30% this year and approximately 50% by 2023. With C-Band included, we think step-ups to premium will only accelerate.”

5G Home acceleration 
“By the end of 2021 we will have between 1 and 2 million millimeter wave 5G Homes open for sale and some 15 million in total with the arrival of the first tranche of C Band. By the end of 2023 this will have risen to more than 30 million households we can serve.”

Tami Erwin, CEO of Verizon Business

Mobile Edge Compute
“Verizon Business has a strong first-mover advantage to build a nationwide Mobile Edge Compute platform and be both a market leader and a market maker. This is not just an idea, it’s happening. Companies in every industry are finding exciting ways to bring 5G and 5G Edge to life – leveraging the full capabilities of 5G from throughput and ultra-low latency to sensor densification and rock solid reliability.”

Kyle Malady, CTO of Verizon

Auction results
“We secured a game-changing amount of C-Band spectrum to go along with our leadership in millimeter wave spectrum. We’ve been planning for many months, and are already working to make this the fastest deployment of new spectrum ever. As the leader in the wireless industry, we have consistently deployed a deep portfolio of strong spectrum holdings with best in class technology capabilities. This same focus will continue to position us for growth for years to come.”

Matt Ellis, CFO of Verizon

“Our Network as a Service strategy is our foundation when considering significant investments. We’ve leveraged that framework, investing in key strategic areas, such as spectrum, network assets, partnerships, and disciplined M&A, to position us for this next technology era.”

“Our strategy is working. Our core business is producing revenue growth today. More customers are experiencing the benefits of 5G Ultra Wideband every month on our millimeter wave spectrum and C-Band helps us accelerate the timeline and expand upon that growth.”

References:

US Ignite Pilot Program for 5G Living Lab at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar in San Diego, CA

The non-profit group US Ignite is starting a new 5G project with Verizon at the Miramar marine base in San Diego, CA. The  $4 million initiative, funded through the Office of Naval Research and Naval Information Warfare Center Pacific will support multiple pilot projects aimed at improving military base operations through technology innovation.  The project will use Verizon’s 5G Ultra Wideband/mmWave network as follows:
  • The 1st  project will use the Verizon 5G network through a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA) to offload data from an automated package-delivery shuttle.
  • The 2nd project will track the development of four finalist applications selected in a recent 5G pitch competition, culminating in a demonstration event for U.S. Marine Corps and Department of Defense officials.

“Military bases, like smart cities, are a crucial testing ground for new sensor-driven technologies, particularly as we upgrade the nation’s wireless networks to 5G,” said Nick Maynard, Chief Operating Officer for US Ignite. “We have an opportunity at Miramar not only to experiment with systems to improve overall safety and efficiency on base, but also to help develop a framework of best practices that will serve smart bases and smart communities across the country.”

 

MCAS Miramar is part of the first wave of military bases deploying 5G networks. Through a partnership with Verizon, the base is fast tracking deployment of 5G and 4G small cells to supplement 4G LTE macro cells already in place. The upgraded wireless network serves as the foundation for the 5G Living Lab at Miramar, making it possible to experiment with digitally connected infrastructure to improve operational resiliency.

“We can create a smarter, more connected military base by working collaboratively across the public and private sector, which is why our partnerships with US Ignite and Verizon are so critical,” said Lieutenant Colonel Brandon Newell, NavalX SoCal Tech Bridge Director and 5G Living Lab Lead. “Through the 5G Living Lab at Miramar, we expect to develop technologies that benefit: military operations, the private sector forging new business models around 5G services, and the public we serve.”

“Since Verizon and Miramar announced the first-ever 5G Ultra Wideband deployment on a military base last July, the NIWC Pacific team has created a true testbed for innovation,” said Andrés Irlando, Senior Vice President and President, Public Sector and Verizon Connect at Verizon. “Leaders across the Department of Defense understand the mission-critical role 5G plays in unlocking innovation for the military, and this new pilot program will accelerate the research to help bring it all to life.”

US Ignite has begun work on both of the initial pilot projects for the MCAS Miramar 5G Living Lab. Team members are designing a route map and finalizing operational details for package delivery service on base using an Olli automated shuttle. Finalists from the recent 5G pitch competition – hosted by the National Security Innovation Network (NSIN) in partnership with NavalX SoCal Tech Bridge and NIWC Pacific – are working on prototype demonstrations of their 5G applications as part of a process facilitated by US Ignite to present the new technology at multiple stages of development to military officials.

Additional pilot projects are planned for 2021, including an effort to connect solar cells on base to the local 5G network. US Ignite will also partner with the University of California San Diego for future data analysis work related to transportation and energy projects.

NIWC Pacific contracted with US Ignite to run the 5G Living Lab pilot program located at MCAS Miramar based on proven technical and project management capabilities. US Ignite has demonstrated its experience through efforts that include: leading a broad portfolio of connected communities in testing applications and services powered by advanced networks; overseeing the development and deployment of multiple city-scale wireless testbeds; and implementing new automated vehicle technology at the United States Army installation at Fort Carson, Colorado.

About US Ignite:

US Ignite is a high-tech nonprofit with a mission to accelerate the smart community movement. We work to guide communities into the connected future, create a path for private sector growth, and advance technology research that’s at the heart of smarter development. For more information, visit www.us-ignite.org.

Media Contact: Sarah Archer-Days, +1 646-596-6103, sarah.archerdays@us-ignite.orgwww.us-ignite.org

References:

Verizon realizes operational efficiencies as massive cost cutting continues; 4G-LTE Home (Fixed Wireless Access)

Speaking at the Citi 2021 Global TMT investor conference on January 5, 2021, Verizon executive Ronan Dunne said the telco’s operational efficiency has continued to increase, largely due to cutting $10 billion in costs, which was first announced four years ago by then CEO Lowell McAdam.

Dunne said Verizon has been reaping billions of dollars every year in operational efficiencies from the core of how it builds network to the efficient way it carries traffic on that network with its One Fiber strategies. Verizon’s One Fiber project, which has been underway for five years, combined all of the telco’s fiber needs and planning into one project. It also allows Verizon to plot out its fiber uses cases and purchasing plans across all of its sectors.

“But as regards (to) the focus of operational efficiency, it’s a ruthless, consistent focus inside the business in exactly the same way as balance sheet strength has always been a watchword of Verizon. And so rest assured those will continue to be as important in ’21 and ’22 as they have been in the last few years.”

Regarding cost cutting, Dunne had this to say: “So yes, Matt (Verizon CFO Matt Ellis) has talked about our commitment to a $10 billion cost program, and we’ve made excellent progress on that. But in my time in the wireless business originally and then consumer, we’ve made significant strides. We’re talking about billions of dollars every year in operational efficiencies. From — right from the core of how we build the network, to be highly, highly efficient, how we carry traffic on the network with our One Fiber strategies to how we serve customers and deliver experiences. And across all of those vectors, we see continued opportunity.”

In addition to densification of the wireless network, backhaul and fronthaul, and enabling wireline access, having fiber deep is key for supporting radio access networks (RAN) as well as provisioning an increasing number of small cells.  Verizon CTO Kyle Malady built the telco’s Intelligent Edge Network, which has allowed Verizon to lower its operational costs by benefiting “from efficiencies within the core and right through the business.”

“The particular area that I’m focused on in my part of the business is really AI at scale,” Dunne said. “That really allows us to improve our CRM (Customer Relationship Management) efficiency. So the efficiency of every dollar invested in acquisition and retention. Also the efficiency of every dollar invested in those elements that are customer service elements, and distribution elements,” he added.

Dunne opined that when you think about Verizon you recognize its network as a platform, it’s distribution as a platform and it’s billing and services platforms.  He believes the opportunity to improve the efficiency of those platforms through investment in technology.

He also talked about the relationships with Microsoft and AWS for edge computing as a new platform capability that’s available both to us internally but also available to customers and partners. “So that’s the strategy. So we see the opportunity to grow highly efficiently as well as serve the existing base more efficiently and lots more to come there.”

“I’m not building a fixed wireless access network,” said Dunne, expressing a bit of frustration regarding a question of whether the company is on target to hit that 30 million homes passed goal. “I’m building a 5G mobility network with a second use case where it’s appropriate, where it covers 5G Office and 5G Home, so we just shouldn’t lose sight of that.”

Dunne says that he believes they are still on track, but the reality on the ground has Verizon constantly updating its 5G mobility strategy of where and how the service gets deployed. That reality impacts the ramp up of 5G Home, potentially slowing its deployment. The service is currently in 12 markets, with very limited footprints in those markets.

Verizon’s recently launched 4G LTE Home fixed wireless service (intended for rural subscribers) should also be included in a discussion of the company’s overall fixed wireless goals. The carrier’s 5G Home service and the goals associated with it pre-date the launch of the new 4G LTE based fixed wireless service, that Verizon initially said would target smaller markets.

Image Credit: Getty

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“One of the other things that I think is important for people to think about is that as we build out the 5G network, we’ve also built 4G Home and we’ve seen significant response to that,” said Dunne. “My addressable market for Home, for me, has always been not limited to the specific of a 5G fixed wireless, but a broader ambition to be able to participate in the home.”

4G LTE fixed wireless access offers peak speeds of 50 Mbps for now, compared to its 5G Home service which claims average speeds of 300 Mbps. Nevertheless, Dunne sees this broader footprint of 4G and 5G fixed wireless combined with mobility, as a formidable competitor to cable broadband, and its fixed wireless homes passed goal attainment should be agnostic to the underlying wireless technology.

Can 5G fixed wireless access be an alternative to cable?

“Well, then my strong view is, yes, it can. But to be clear, we only build where there’s a mobility case to build. We’re not building a stand-alone 5G fixed wireless network. So sometimes when respectfully, people get frustrated with us and say, well, hold on a second. What about — I want to see all your discrete reporting of 5G fixed wireless or why aren’t you there or there or there? The answer, which — forgive me, but I keep repeating is because I’m not building a fixed wireless access network. I’m building a 5G mobility network with a second use case, where it’s appropriate, where it covers 5G office and 5G home. So we shouldn’t lose sight of that.

So as I build over that sort of 7-, 8-year horizon, one of the realities is that I will be updating my mobility deployment patterns all the time. So we’re not really — we’re not saying that, that sort of 7, 8 years for the 30 million homes time line is shifting. But what I am saying is we continue to optimize the mobility 5G deployment strategy. And as a result, we continue to finesse and update the practicalities of that relative to the homes past. But one of the other things that I think is important for people to think about is that as we build out the 5G network, we’ve also built 4G home, and we’ve seen significant response to that. And yes, that’s a maybe a 50 meg product rather than a 500 meg product. But for a lot of people, that’s important. And that also affords us this opportunity that as we build out 5G, as we put more nodes in place, but also as we put more carriers out there, deploy more spectrum, et cetera, we have this ability to build a home portfolio, which is carrier — basically bearer-agnostic. And I think the thing for us is that we see the opportunities to participate in tens of millions of homes across the U.S. as really attractive.

What I want to do is have toolkit that says, in my Fios footprint, if fiber is the right thing to do, great. If anywhere in the U.S. 5G ultra-wideband is available to me, I have that. And in other places, I have my 4G increasingly enhanced performance in that network, which may ultimately be a 5G nationwide solution. So my addressable market for home for me has always been not limited to the specific of a 5G fixed wireless but a broader ambition to be able to participate in the home and to bring the scale benefits of that to my customers who see Verizon as the partner of choice.”

We think we have a very strong growth opportunity, which is stimulate the base, spread through our network and distribution as
a platform, our access to the market across all of the available segments and really execute on a very strong, high performance, both network, but also a set of experiences….

References:

https://www.verizon.com/about/investors/citi-2021-global-tmt-west-virtual-conference

https://www.verizon.com/about/sites/default/files/2021-01/Citi-Conf-Transcript-01052021.pdf

https://www.fiercetelecom.com/telecom/verizon-closes-its-10-billion-cost-cutting-goal

https://www.telecompetitor.com/verizon-consumer-ceo-hedges-a-bit-on-5g-home-fixed-wireless-aspirations-looks-to-4g/

https://www.pcmag.com/news/verizon-launches-unlimited-4g-home-internet-for-rural-users-here-are-the

Verizon and Deloitte collaborate on 5G mobile edge computing + 6G nonsense talk

Verizon today announced a deal with Deloitte to collaborate on 5G mobile edge computing services for manufacturing and retail businesses and ultimately expand to other industry verticals. The companies plan to create transformational solutions to serve client-specific needs using Deloitte’s industry and solution engineering expertise combined with Verizon’s advanced mobile and private enterprise wireless networks, 5G Edge MEC platform, IoT, Software Defined-Wide Area Network (SD-WAN), and VNS Application Edge capabilities.

Verizon and Deloitte are collaborating on innovative solutions to transform manufacturers into “real-time enterprises” with real-time intelligence and business agility by integrating next-gen technologies including 5G, MEC, computer vision and AI with cloud and advanced networking. The companies are co-developing a smart factory solution at Verizon’s Customer Technology Center in Richardson, TX that will utilize computer vision and sensor-based detection coupled with MEC to identify and predict quality defects on the assembly line and automatically alert plant engineering and management in near real-time.

The companies will also introduce an integrated network and application edge compute environment for next generation application functionality and performance that reduces the need for manual quality inspection, avoids lost productivity, reduces production waste, and ultimately lowers the cost of raw materials and improves plant efficiency. The combination of SD-WAN and VNS Application Edge will bring together software defined controls, application awareness, and application lifecycle management to deliver on-demand network transformation and edge application deployment and management.

“By bringing together Verizon’s 5G and MEC prowess with Deloitte’s deep industry expertise and track record in system integration with large enterprises on smart factories, we plan to deliver cutting-edge solutions that will close the gap between digital business operations and legacy manufacturing environments and unlock the value of the end-to-end digital enterprise,” said Tami Erwin, CEO of Verizon Business. “This collaboration is part of Verizon’s broader strategy to align with enterprises, startups, universities and government to explore how 5G and MEC can disrupt and transform nearly every industry.”

“In our recently published Deloitte Advanced Wireless Adoption study, over 85% of US executives surveyed indicated that advanced wireless is a force multiplier that will unlock the full potential of edge computing, AI, Cloud, IoT, and data analytics. Our collaboration with Verizon combines Deloitte’s business transformation expertise with advanced wireless and MEC technology to deliver game changing solutions,” said Ajit Prabhu, US Ecosystems & Alliances Strategy Officer and 5G/Edge Computing Commercialization leader, Deloitte Consulting LLP.

The #1 U.S. wireless telco still plans to reach an additional two cities with its mobile edge computing (MEC) network, ending the year with availability in 10 cities.

Verizon is also working with Microsoft Azure on private 5G MECAmazon Web Services (AWS) on consumer-oriented 5G MECIBM on IoT, Samsung and Corning on in-building 5G radios, Apple, major sporting leagues, and other organizations — all in an effort to explore and develop new use cases for 5G.

The MEC activities follows a flurry of announcements last week when Verizon expanded its low-band 5G network to reach up to 230 million people, said its millimeter-wave 5G network is now live in parts of 61 U.S. cities, revealed an on-premises private 4G LTE service for enterprises, expanded a partnership with SAP, inked a multi-year deal with Walgreens Boot Alliance, and launched an IoT services platform.

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Separately, Verizon CTO Kyle Malady said that there’s currently no clear reason to move beyond 5G. “I really don’t know what the hell 6G is,” he said. Neither does anyone else- see Opinion below.

“We just put 5G in. And I think there’s a lot of development still to come on that one.”

Verizon, AT&T, Apple, Google and a wide range of other companies have already teamed under ATIS’ “Next G Alliance” that seeks to unite US industry, government and academia around 6G efforts.

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Opinion on “6G”:

Talk of “6G” is preposterous at this time, since we don’t even have an approved 5G RAN/ IMT 2020 RIT spec or standard that meets the 5G URLLC performance requirements in ITU M.2410.  Despite numerous 3GPP Release 16 specs, we don’t have a standard for 5G core network implementation, 5G security, 5G network management, 5G network slicing, etc.

At its 34th meeting (19-26 February 2020), ITU‑R Working Party (WP) 5D decided to start study on future technology trends for the future evolution of IMT.  A preliminary draft new Report ITU-R M.[IMT.FUTURE TECHNOLOGY TRENDS] will be developed and will consider related information from various external organizations and country/regional research programs.

The scope of the new report ITU-R M.[IMT.FUTURE TECHNOLOGY TRENDS] focuses on the following aspects:

This Report provides a broad view of future technical aspects of terrestrial IMT systems considering the time frame up to 2030 and beyond. It includes information on technical and operational characteristics of terrestrial IMT systems, including the evolution of IMT through advances in technology and spectrally-efficient techniques, and their deployment.”

In a Sept 27, 2020 ITU-R WP5D contribution, China stated:

IMT technology needs to show sustainable vitality in the perspective of technical development. There are emerging services and applications, and their further development towards 2030 and beyond will impose higher requirements on the IMT system. It motivates the introduction of new IMT technical features, e.g., very high spectrum up to Terahertz, native artificial intelligence (AI), integrated sensing and communications, integrated terrestrial and non-terrestrial networks, block chain and quantum computing for multi-lateral trustworthiness architecture, etc., which were not emphasised in Report ITU-R M.2320-0 considering the time-frame for 2015-2020. IMT technology continues to develop and it is necessary for ITU to provide a broad view of future technical aspects of IMT systems considering 2030 and beyond.

And suggested topics to be covered in this new IMT.FUTURE TECHNOLOGY TRENDS Report:

  • IMT technology trends and enablers for the time up to 2030 and beyond:

    1. Technologies for further enhanced radio interface, including advanced modulation, coding and multiple access schemes, E-MIMO (Extreme -MIMO), Co-frequency Co-time Full Duplex (CCFD) communications, multiple physical dimension transmission

    2. Technologies for Tera Hertz communication and optical wireless communication

    3. Technologies for native AI based communication

    4. Technologies for integrated sensing and communication

    5. Technologies for integrated terrestrial and non-terrestrial communications

    6. Technologies for integrated access and super sidelink communications

    7. Technologies for high energy efficiency and low energy consumption

    8. Technologies for native security, privacy, and trust

    9. Technologies for efficient spectrum utilization

    10. Terminal Technologies

    11. Network Technologies

Editor’s Note:  The next meeting of ITU-R WP5D is March 1-to-12, 2021 (e-meeting)

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References:

https://www.verizon.com/about/news/verizon-business-deloitte-5g-mobile-edge-computing

https://www.lightreading.com/cloud-nativenfv/verizons-cto-i-dont-know-what-hell-6g-is/d/d-id/766270?

ITU-R: Future Technology Trends for the evolution of IMT towards 2030 and beyond (including 6G)

U.S. Wireless Carrier’s Aggressive Promotions for iPhone 12 explained

Business Insider:

  • The launch of the iPhone 12 has sparked a battle for U.S. carriers to entice devices upgrades.
  • AT&T, T-Mobile, and Verizon’s aggressive promotional pricing reflects the higher perceived lifetime value of attracting and retaining 5G wireless consumers.

The U.S. wireless carriers are betting that steep iPhone 12 promotions will more than pay off over time.  Here’s why:

  • U.S. wireless carriers are turning to promotions now in hopes that they will be able to secure new or retain customers throughout the 5G era. The most common time for wireless carriers to lose or gain subscribers is when customers switch smartphones, per The Wall Street Journal.
  • The unusually aggressive device promotions also likely reflect the higher lifetime value of 5G customers. By 2025, 5G subscribers are expected to generate 2.5x more revenue per connection for carriers than the average cellular connection, according to Juniper Research forecasts cited by Light Reading.
  • Wireless carriers are also likely attempting to meet US customers halfway, since so many people are cutting back on spending amid the economic slowdown. In Q2 2020, the average sale price of smartphones in the US sank to $503, representing a 10% year-over-year decline, according to Canalys.

Analyst colleague Craig Moffett generated this iPhone 12 Q & A in a blog post for his clients:

1.  Why was Verizon featured so prominently in Apple’s iPhone launch?

Answer: Their millimeter wave broadband, sparsely available though it may be, is the only credible showcase for what 5G can do.

2. Why do Apple’s new iPhone’s sold outside of the U.S. not support millimeter wave signals?

Answer: Millimeter wave drains battery life incredibly quickly, and generates unwanted heat in the handset.

3.  Why do Apple’s new phones in the U.S. default to turning off the very feature that is supposedly the reason to buy them?

Answer: To reduce heat and extend battery life.

4.  What are the use cases that make 5G worth having?

Answer: We don’t know yet.

5.  Why did AT&T decide to offer such a rich promotion – a free iPhone with almost any trade-in – for their existing subscribers?

Answer: Again, we don’t know.

6.  Will 5G produce a high ROI for wireless carriers?

Answer: Most expect that 5G will mean higher capital intensity (capex), and therefore lower ROI.

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References:

https://www.businessinsider.com/att-tmobile-verizon-usher-aggressive-promos-for-iphone-12-lineup-2020-10

https://www.moffettnathanson.com/?Section=Media%20/Telecom

Samsung Electronics wins $6.6B wireless network equipment order from Verizon; Galaxy Book Flex 5G

Samsung Electronics said on Monday it had won a $6.64 billion order to provide wireless communication solutions to Verizon in the United States, a major win for the South Korean firm in the next-generation 5G network market.  Samsung’s local unit Samsung Electronics America signed the agreement with Verizon Sourcing, a subsidiary of Verizon Communications, to offer network products for the wireless carrier through the end of 2025. This includes providing, establishing and maintaining the company’s 5G mobile telecom equipment.

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Sidebar:  Nokia on the sidelines:

Nokia’s biggest customer is Verizon, JP Morgan research said in a July note to clients.  Yet Nokia didn’t win any part of the new Verizon 5G order. That was predicted by Rosenblatt analyst Ryan Koontz, who said in July “Samsung will “leapfrog Nokia to secure one of the largest new supplier telecom contracts in many years.”

Nokia wrote in an email, “We do not comment on our customers’ vendor strategy. Nokia is proud to serve Verizon, and we are committed to continuing to help them build the best, most reliable and highest performing network. Nokia and Verizon have a longstanding strategic partnership in key technologies across their network with our end-to-end solutions portfolio.”

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Samsung’s global prospects for its network business have improved following U.S. sanctions on its bigger rival Huawei , analysts said.  The Trump administration last month unveiled plans to auction off spectrum previously dedicated to military purposes for commercial use starting in mid-2022, to ramp up fifth-generation network coverage in the United States. In July, the UK ordered Huawei equipment to be purged completely from its 5G network by the end of 2027, adding it needs to bring in new suppliers like Samsung Electronics and Japan’s NEC Corporation.

Verizon CEO Hans Vestberg told CNBC in July last year that Verizon does not use any Huawei equipment. Verizon had already been a Samsung customer before the order. Vestberg’s statement about no Huawei gear is not true, as Light Reading and other websites noted on Friday.

The FCC requested information about “the presence or use of Huawei or ZTE equipment and/or services in their networks, or in the networks of their affiliates or subsidiaries.”

The FCC’s goal is to determine how many US companies use equipment from Huawei or ZTE – the equipment has been deemed a threat to national security – and how much it might cost to replace that gear with equipment from “trusted” suppliers.

On Friday, the FCC published a list of companies that reported they have existing Huawei or ZTE equipment and services.

Three of the nation’s five biggest wireline phone providers (Verizon, CenturyLink and Windstream) have admitted to having equipment from Huawei or ZTE, according to Leichtman Research Group.

“Verizon’s networks do not include equipment from any untrusted vendors. In addition, the company is not seeking funds from the FCC to replace equipment,” a Verizon representative wrote in response to questions from Light Reading. “Verizon has a relatively small number of devices, called VoiceLink, which were made by Huawei and are used by some customers to make voice calls. There are no data services associated with these devices. Earlier this year, Verizon started replacing these units. That effort was temporarily halted by the pandemic and is now underway again. We expect to have all Voicelink devices fully retired by the end of the year.”

“Samsung winning the order from Verizon would help the company expand its telecom equipment business abroad, potentially giving leverage to negotiate with other countries,” Park Sung-soon, an analyst at Cape Investment and Securities told Reuters.

The order is for network equipment, a Samsung spokesman said. The company declined to comment on detailed terms the contract such as the portion of 5G-capable equipment included.

Verizon joined with Samsung long before 5G made its debut in smartphones last spring. In early 2018, the two firms teamed up for trial runs of 5G-powered home internet. Verizon officials have previously pledged not to use Huawei for its next-generation rollout. Samsung has supplied some network gear for prior generations including 4G LTE.

To Samsung, the deal represents a major 5G win. The contract, valued at 7.898 trillion South Korean won over five years, compares with the roughly 5 trillion won Samsung’s network business racked up in revenue in all of 2019.

Last year, 5G represented less than half of Samsung’s network business, of which U.S. carriers accounted for 10%, said S.K. Kim, a Seoul-based analyst with Daiwa Securities.

“With this latest long-term strategic contract, we will continue to push the boundaries of 5G innovation to enhance mobile experiences for Verizon’s customers,” Samsung said in a statement.

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Sidebar —  Telecom Equipment Vendor Market Shares:

Samsung had a 3% market share of the global total telecom equipment market in 2019, behind No. 1 Huawei with 28%, Nokia’s 16%, Ericsson’s 14%, ZTE’s 10% and Cisco’s 7%, according to market research firm Dell’Oro Group.

Among 5G network sales, Samsung ranks No. 4 with about 13% of the total market, according to market research firm Dell’Oro Group. It trails the top three, which include China’s Huawei Technologies Co. and the European firms Ericsson AB and Nokia Corp.

Huawei said early this year that it had signed more than 90 5G contracts, and Ericsson last month touted its 100th 5G “commercial agreement.” Samsung hasn’t divulged how many 5G contracts it has signed. But it has high hopes, having invested more than $30 billion in the U.S. market alone.

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Separately, Samsung announced the Galaxy Book Flex 5G, an adaptable, 5G-powered addition to its premium laptop line.   Galaxy Book Flex 5G is powered by the new 11th Gen Intel® Core™ processor with Intel® Iris® Xe graphics offering intelligent performance and powerful processing for impressive productivity and stunning entertainment, along with Wi-Fi 6 and 5G connectivity for an unparalleled laptop experience.

“Across the world, we’re being asked to adapt and change constantly, and it’s vital we have devices that move with us,” said Mincheol Lee, Corporate VP and Head of New Computing Biz Group at Samsung Electronics. “Thanks to our close collaboration with Intel, Galaxy Book Flex 5G provides users with a powerful performance, next-generation connectivity, effortless productivity and premium entertainment features, all in the form function of their choosing.”

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References:

https://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/business/samsung-electronics-wins-us-6-7-billion-verizon-order-for-13087716

Verizon Trials Quantum Key Distribution for Encryption over Fiber Optic Links

Verizon has begun testing quantum key distribution (QKD) [1.], a new encryption method that uses photon properties to protect subscriber data. The company says they are the first U.S. carrier to do so, although AT&T is also exploring quantum computing applications in partnership with the California Institute of Technology.  Verizon  said it sent encrypted streaming video from a 5G Lab to two East Coast offices.

Note 1.  Unlike number-based encryption methods used today, QKD creates keys based on the quantum properties of photons, making it much harder for even advanced computing systems to crack.  QKD could be applied to exchange a key between the two ends of a communication. QKD provides protection against the threat posed by quantum computing to current cryptographic algorithms and provides a high level of security for the exchange of data.

An article by ITU-T SG13 chair Leo Lehmann, PhD, described new ITU-T Recommendations related to IMT 2020 and Quantum Key Distribution.   ITU-T SG13 has published two new recommendations for networks to support quantum key distribution (QKD) [1] :

  • Y.3800 (Y.QKDN_FR) Overview on networks supporting quantum key distribution
  • Y.3801 (Y.QKDN_req) Functional requirements for quantum key distribution networks

Y.3800 describes the basic conceptual structures of QKD networks as the first of a series of emerging ITU standards on network and security aspects of quantum information technologies. SG13 standards for QKD networks – networks of QKD devices and an overlay network – will enable the integration of QKD technology into large-scale ICT networks.

Complementing these activities, ITU-T SG17 standards provide recommendations for the security of these QKD networks.

Quantum Cryptography Demystified: How It Works in Plain Language - ExtremeTech

Image depicting Quantum Cryptography

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Verizon is exploring the physics of the ultra small which could help protect encrypted network connections.

“A QKD network derives cryptographic keys using the quantum properties of photons to prevent against eavesdropping,” Verizon said. It’s also using a quantum random number generator to continuously generate encryption keys.

In the trial, Verizon said it used QKD to encrypt and send a video stream between its 5G Lab and two of its offices in Virginia and Washington DC.  Specifically, live video was captured outside of three Verizon locations in the D.C. area, including the Washington DC Executive Briefing Center, the 5G Lab in D.C and Verizon’s Ashburn, Virginia office.

Using a QKD network, quantum keys were created and exchanged over a fiber optic network between Verizon’s locations.  Video streams were encrypted and delivered more securely allowing the recipient to see the video in real-time while instantly exposing hackers. A QKD network derives cryptographic keys using the quantum properties of photons to prevent against eavesdropping.

Though the test was conducted over its fiber network, a Verizon representative told Mobile World Live the operator is also aiming to use the technology in their mobile networks.

Verizon also demonstrated that data could be further secured with keys generated using a Quantum Random Number Generator (QRNG) that, as the name suggests, creates random numbers that can’t be predicted. With QKD, encryption keys are continuously generated and are immune to attacks because any disruption to the channel breaks the quantum state of photons, which signals that eavesdroppers are present.

“The use of quantum mechanics is a great step forward in data security,” said IDC Analyst Christina Richmond, in a statement. “Verizon’s own tests, as well other industry testing, have shown that deriving ‘secret keys’ between two entities via light photons effectively blocks perfect cloning by an eavesdropper if a key intercept is attempted.

“Current technological breakthroughs have proven that both the quantum channel and encrypted data channel can be sent over a single optical fiber. Verizon has demonstrated this streamlined approach brings greater efficiency for practical large-scale implementation allowing keys to be securely shared over wide-ranging networks.”

Verizon chief product development officer Nicola Palmer stated the test was part of an effort to “discover new ways to ensure safe networks and communications” for consumers and enterprises.  “Quantum-based technology can strengthen data security today and in the future,” she said.

Verizon outlined additional work focused on 5G security, including tests of a system using AI and machine learning to detect anomalies in the network and analyse cell site performance; network accelerators to mitigate increases in latency caused by security functions; and a credential management system for connected vehicles.

References:

https://www.cnet.com/news/verizon-reveals-quantum-networking-trials/

Verizon trials quantum security

https://www.fiercetelecom.com/telecom/verizon-tunes-up-quantum-technology-trial-to-bolster-security

Quantum Cryptography Demystified: How It Works in Plain Language

New ITU-T SG13 Recommendations related to IMT 2020 and Quantum Key Distribution

 

Verizon earnings beat estimates despite COVID-19 impact; wireless revenues down; 2H-2020 Priorities

Verizon’s reported today that 2nd-quarter adjusted earnings per share was $1.18, ahead of analysts’ consensus estimate of $1.15, but down from $1.23 in the same period last year.  The company estimates that second-quarter 2020 EPS and adjusted EPS included approximately 14 cents of COVID-19-related net impacts, primarily driven by impacts to wireless service revenue and lower advertising and search revenue from Verizon Media.

Verizon added 173,000 wireless postpaid phone subscribers for the second quarter, as the COVID-19 pandemic weighed on wireless service and equipment revenue (see CFO Matt Ellis quote below).

Total wireless service revenue was down 1.7% from the same period a year ago, to $15.9 billion, while postpaid phone churn for Q2 was 0.51%. Verizon cited a significant drop in wireless equipment revenue because of low activations as the main driver behind a 4% drop in total consumer revenues to $21.1 billion and business to $7.5 billion.

Consumer wireless service revenue declined 2.7% from the year ago period to $13.1 billion. Business wireless revenue declined 3.7% YoY to $7.5 billion (see charts below).

Like AT&T, which reported earnings yesterday, Verizon said the results include impacts from reduced roaming and usage as travel remains restricted, and waived fees. However, Verizon said it had record uptake of its premium Unlimited plans by new accounts. Wireless postpaid average service revenue per account (ARPA) declined 1.8% to $116.02.

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Verizon continues to build-out its 5G network, with $9.9 billion in capital expenditures in the first half of the year. Those investments supported capacity and traffic growth across Verizon’s networks and included additional fiber and cell sites to expand its 5G UltraWideband rollout, which primarily uses 28 GHz millimeter wave spectrum. Verizon 5G network is in parts of 35 cities, while its fixed wireless 5G Home product is currently in six markets.

“Through extraordinary circumstances, Verizon delivered a strong operational performance in the second quarter,” said Verizon CEO Hans Vestberg in a statement. “We remain focused on our strategic direction as a technology leader, quickly adapting to the new environment and providing our customers with reliable and vital connections and technology services, while working to keep our employees safe and accelerating our 5G network deployment. We have embraced, engaged in and responded to important social movements happening throughout the world, and will continue to be at the forefront of initiatives that move the world forward for everyone. We are proud of what we have done, and continue to do, for our customers, shareholders, employees, and society.”

Other Q2 metrics for Verizon:

  • Total revenue of $30.4 billion, down 5.1%
  • Adjusted EBITDA of $11.5 billion and adjusted EBITDA margin of 37.9%
  • Earnings per share of $1.18, down 4.1%
  • Verizon Media revenues were down 24.5% to $1.4 billion

Commenting on the impact of COVID-19, Verizon Chief Financial Officer Matt Ellis told Barron’s Friday morning:

“Certainly this was a very different quarter than others, not part of our plan for the year, but when you look at the results I think you see strong operational performance and very good cash flow coming from that. I think it speaks to the nature of our business model and the importance of our products in our customers’ lives.”

Guidance and 2nd Half 2020 Priorities:

Verizon expects wireless revenue in a range of -1% to flat year over year in the 3rd quarter.  Capital spending is forecast to be in the range of $17.5 billion to $18.5 billion.

Stated 2nd half 2020 initiatives are:

  • 5G adoption
  • Network monetization
  • Next-gen B2B applications
  • Customer differentiation
  • New revenue opportunities

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“Regardless of how results match up against expectations for Verizon, these results should be seen as good compared to what AT&T reported yesterday,” wrote New Street Research analyst Jonathan Chaplin on Friday morning. This author certainly agrees, as Verizon is not encumbered by DirecTV and Warner Media as AT&T is.

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Quotes & Answers to Questions from Verizon’s July 24th Earnings Call Transcript:
CEO Hans Vestberg:

In February, we made some bold statements about our deployment on 5G in 2020 all the way from the Mobile Edge Compute, 5G Home cities, 5x more small cells on 5G and some 60 cities on the 5G Ultra-Wideband as well as a nationwide coverage on 5G with DSS. I’m happy to report we’re on track on that, and in some cases even ahead of the plan. We are continuing to deploy our technology.

Our test with DSS is going very well and as well, we have launched some of the 60 markets when it comes to mobility and some additional markets on 5G Home. However, you’re going to see that in the second half of this year we have a lot of new things happening and building on the foundation of the strategy and the strategic priorities that Verizon has outlined the last couple of years.

For Verizon Business Group, 5G Mobile Edge Compute, an important piece of our growth strategy, we have said that we are going to have 10 5G Mobile Edge Compute sites this year deployed. And now we’ve also started gearing up our partners. We have announced IBM and we also talked about SAP as two very important application providers that are going to take part of our deployment and that we’re collaborating with right now. So we’re creating a lot of excitement around the 5G Mobile Edge Compute and a lot more to come in the second half. Verizon Business Group, 5G Mobile Edge Compute, an important piece of our growth strategy, we have said that we are going to have 10 5G Mobile Edge Compute sites this year deployed. And now we’ve also started gearing up our partners. We have announced IBM and we also talked about SAP as two very important application providers that are going to take part of our deployment and that we’re collaborating with right now. So we’re creating a lot of excitement around the 5G Mobile Edge Compute and a lot more to come in the second half.

We are on plan to deploy more than 5x more millimeter wave base stations this year compared to last year, so the footprint will be much broader and we will be into 60 cities and those cities will be much more covered than they were last year. And we are disclosing that – usually on a fairly frequent basis how that map is growing. As you have seen, we have launched fairly few markets the first half when it comes to the 60, so you should expect quite a lot of noise from us in the second half and we’re really excited about that. But you also need to think about our model will also include nationwide, so think about our model being a millimeter wave that is transformative. No one is even close to it in the world. Then we will have national coverage on top of that. And then in the bottom, we have the best 4G network in the world. And then I don’t think that our customer will be disappointed with that. We build things that are transformative that are so different than others. So I would be excited for the second half if I would be you. It’s crunch time for Verizon. We have been talking about this for one and a half year. I think our customers will be very excited in the second half.

One year ago, we didn’t talk about DSS. But of course, our team was working to prepare all the networks so we can actually deploy DSS in all the radio base stations we have. So we constantly are ahead of the game thinking what is needed to be preparing for the network. But right now our focus is very much about the commitments we have to our customers when it comes to 5G, but also to keeping the best network on 4G. That’s where we’ll have it and then do that fiber reach. Those are the priorities and it will continue so. Then any speculation on the future spectrum or something, that’s a little bit early to have right now. But I can tell you my team is always proactively thinking about how to do this network continue to be the best in America. There’s no debate about that. And I have a high confidence that they will continue to do so when it comes to our CapEx allocation as well.

If you think about the Mobile Edge Compute, just last week we announced partnership with IBM and with SAP. That’s going to be part of the 5G Mobile Edge Compute in order to serve our customers. So you’re going to see that how we are doing, sort of laying out early indicators on that path to revenue that we have outlined both internally as well as externally.

5G Mobile Edge Compute. I think that the use cases we see today is very much real-time decision-making. If that’s a big distribution center that’s going to have 5G-enabled distribution center to actually take real-time decisions, or if it’s a big manufacturing plant that’s going to use 5G Mobile Edge Compute by wireless connecting to all the robotics, we’re in many of those cases. And then you also see cases where sort of IoT devices with 5G will actually enable a new way of delivering a service. And finally, the whole VR and AR for large enterprises where you need a low latency on the campus or in the manufacturing or whatever it might be, those are all the early cases. Many of them right now are based on low latency. We see it’s creeping into security because the data can then be contained with the company, meaning they can actually process and have all the processing and storage at the edge, which means they can keep the data for themselves. So those two capabilities are the first one. I think in the next, we’re going to see enormous bandwidth of enterprise that need to send a lot of data to the edge in order to take decisions. But so far, latency and security, that’s how the 5G Mobile Edge Compute scenarios are working out. And we basically have two, three – or two, I would say, per industry vertical that are lead customers for us. And we work with them to do the solutions and sometimes we are the third party as we don’t have all application ourselves. That’s how we’re working it right now and I’m encouraged. And, of course, as I said before, acceleration has been seen, because all the digitalization and touchless that is needed going forward.

We feel really good about our model. As we have said before, minimum of 10 5G Home cities. We’re going to have the cities with a much better chipset. That’s on plan for this second half.

And the self-install, which I have been talking about now for one and half year, which excites me that our customers should be able to receive the gear, the CPs and be able to install themselves in a short timeframe. It’s not that I’m down to the times that I have envisioned. I wanted to be below one hour, but we have come a far way from the eight hours we started with. And compared to a fiber installation where you need to first put it on the agenda, you wait for a couple of weeks and you have to come there and install it, and it takes hours to do. This is a totally different way. It’s transformative. As I said, we are building 5G that’s transformative, not the me-too to my 4G.

I think one thing that we have learned also is that, of course, fixed wireless access, we think a lot about consumers, but there is an opportunity clearly when you see this also as a fixed wireless access opportunity for small and medium business, et cetera, that we will start working on later on.

CFO Matt Ellis:

We’re driving these (5G Home) revenues off of the same (wireless) network that you are getting 5G mobility revenues on. So this is the first time we’ve had that opportunity to drive multiple revenue streams off of the same investment. And so as we roll out the network, we’ll have the opportunity to add more market share. And so we’re very excited about that as we head into ’21 with the progress we’re making this year.

We’re certainly excited about the opportunities that come with the C-band auction. One of the great things about having got the balance sheet in position that we have is it gives us the opportunity to take advantage of items like that when they come along. And I don’t think that – as I look at the balance sheet and I look at the auction that that will provide any inhibitor [ph] to us either in terms of what we do in the auction or how we invest in the rest of the business. In terms of the free cash flow, so the second quarter as you say, a couple of items in there. We had the tax benefit from the item that we recognized in the fourth quarter last year. We also had a timing difference of about $2 billion moving just regular cash payments from second quarter to last week. But all-in-all, look, our cash flow will continue to be strong because we have – obviously we have a strong business with a recurring revenue stream that will continue into the second half of the year. Working capital provided a benefit in the first half with the lower volumes. We’ll see how that plays out in the second half of the year. And I think that will be one of the key determinants of how cash flow looks for the full year on a year-over-year basis. So we’ll see how it plays out, but I certainly expect free cash flow to continue to be strong for the business.

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