5G’s positive impact on Telemedicine + “not in my backyard” (NIMBY) problem of small cells

The IEEE Techblog post below is an excerpt of a November 1, 2019 article titled 5G Is the Future, by Eric  Boehm- a reporter at Reason magazine. Reason magazine- Volume 51; Issue 6; ISSN:00486906.   Edits and additional comments by Alan J Weissberger.  You can read the entire article by subscribing to Reason here.

5G Impact on Telemedicine:

The ability to move more data more quickly between devices will open the door to new medical technologies, giving doctors volumes of information about patients even without being in the same room. That means telemedicine could finally be ready to go mainstream.

Market Research Future, a firm that predicts business trends, expects the American telemedicine market to grow by more than 16 percent annually from 2017 to 2023, in large part because faster connection speeds and lower latency will let doctors talk to and diagnose patients via high-definition video streamed from a phone. That could be a huge development for access to medical care-one that would be a boon for residents of rural areas, for the poor, and for the elderly. And everyone will benefit from spending less time sitting in a waiting room. If 4G gives you the ability to play Angry Birds until the doctor is ready to see you, 5G may let you skip the in-person visit altogether.

Some telemedicine will be fully automated, with wearable sensors providing real-time information about vital signs, falls, or physical activity, giving doctors a better understanding of a patient’s health with fewer invasive procedures. A Stanford University study estimates that, in 2020, Americans will produce 2,314 exabytes of medical data (an exabyte is equal to a billion gigabytes), up from a mere 153 exabytes in 2013.

“Those troves of information become the foundation for biomedical research,” the Stanford researchers conclude. “We are beginning to reconstruct the relationship between genes and life and health in ways that are likely to be transformative.”

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5G’S NIMBY Problem:

Some of the U.S. government policies that will dictate 5G’s future are being made right now at the State Department, the Commerce Department, and the FCC. But equally important is what happens in places like Washington, D.C. office of Mayor Muriel Bowser and the city council.  During an October 2018 hearing there, Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner Ann Mladinov voiced concern about the “visual clutter” that could result from having “so many additional poles holding small cell boxes over sidewalks and in other public space.” At the same hearing, another attendee told the council it should protect D.C. neighborhoods’ aesthetic qualities from being “put at risk for more corporate gain.” Like tall buildings and other forms ofvisible urban development, 5G has a “not in my backyard” (NIMBY) problem.  For sure, it will be exacerbated with 5G mmWave spectrum which requires many more small cells due to limited range.

Those complaints, and many more like them lodged with city councils across the country, have to do with the physical hardware that will be necessary for widespread 5G adoption. Mobile providers are ditching the traditional cell tower, the backbone of cellular networks since they first emerged, in favor of so-called “small cell” antennas. These devices-some no bigger than a backpack, others as large as a refrigerator-will be affixed to telephone poles and buildings. Because each one has a considerably smaller range than a tower, covering a whole city requires a small cell to be placed every few blocks, a potential point of friction for residents who dislike change. But the benefits for users will be large.

Not only will the physical components be capable of making faster connections, but the physical proximity to users and greater bandwidth will allow more devices to be connected at once. A 4G network can handle about 4,000 devices per square kilometer. Verizon CEO Hans Vestberg has claimed that 5G networks will be able to handle up to 1 million devices within the same space.

“It’s going to introduce more competition, that’s for sure,” says Ian Adams, a 5G policy expert with TechFreedom, a nonprofit advocacy group. Because 5G mobile networks will offer speeds similar to wired connections, cable companies and traditional internet service providers will have more rivals. This may force them to innovate or lower prices, and the likely result will be better, cheaper online access for all.  But if the tradeoff is greater “visual clutter” on and above city streets, some people won’t be on the side of innovation.

In letters to the FCCtelecom companies have complained about a wide range of local regulations that have slowed the deployment of 5G infrastructure-often a result of trying to apply rules written for large cell towers to the small cell antennas. For example, one Pennsylvania town requires that an eight-foot fence be erected around any structure containing a small cell antenna. That’s common sense for older, larger towers, but it’s nonsensical for a device that can be attached to a telephone pole.

Similarly, AT&T complained that it has had to pause or decrease small cell deployments in parts of California, Maryland, and Massachusetts due to high fees, and that some municipalities in Washington and New York have used restrictive zoning to limit the placement of small cell antennas. Timing is also an issue. The Wireless Infrastructure Association (WIA), an industry group, claims that about a third of all wireless antenna approvals exceed the 90-day limit for review that the FCC established in 2009. In one extreme case, the town of Paramus, New Jersey, spent five years considering a Sprint application for a new cell site before denying the request. In Greenburgh, New York, a small cell contractor faced a review process for a single antenna that “took approximately two years and nearly twenty meetings, with constantly shifting demands,” the WIA says. When a telecom company wanted to attach 23 small cells to the sides of Houston’s NRG Stadium, it first had to spend $180,000 in mandatory historic review fees. The stadium was built in 2002.

In taking action to curb the worst abuses, the FCC is attempting to strike a balance between innovation and local control. The agency estimates that streamlining the approval process will save telecoms $2 billion that can be put toward further expansion of their 5G networks.

But federal pre-emption is always going to be an imperfect solution. Ideally, telecom companies would negotiate with individual property owners to obtain the right to place small cell antennas on the sides of buildings or atop privately owned poles. But local governments generally control where such devices can be installed and how much companies are required to pay for the privilege.

It’s fine for residents to voice their opinions, of course, but “a local government shouldn’t get to impede the development of a national infrastructure,” says Adams. “Putting guardrails on particularly egregious local actions,” as the FCC has tried to do, is “important if we want to have uniformity of infrastructure.”

The local interference can indeed be egregious. In 2015, San Jose, California, started charging telecom companies $3,500 for each small cell antenna installed-far more than what similarly sized cities like Phoenix ($100) and Indianapolis ($50) charge for the right to install the same equipment. By 2018, it was apparent that the costs were causing San Jose to fall behind in the early stages of 5G deployment. So the city reconfigured the per-antenna fee into a $1 million one-time payment coupled with ongoing tax obligations. San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo promised to use the revenue for a “Digital Inclusion Fund” that would spend $24 million bringing high-speed internet to 50,000 low-income households within the next 10 years.

The FCC’s new rules put an end to that shakedown. By capping the fees that localities can charge for installing 5G small cell antennas, it ensured that companies like T-Mobile and Verizon don’t have to pay off cities like San Jose for the right to bring residents high-speed mobile internet.

Shireen Santosham, the chief innovation officer within the San Jose mayor’s office, has called the FCC’s rules “a $2 billion taxpayer-funded subsidy to corporate interests.” But that’s hardly accurate. The new policy doesn’t require that taxpayers underwrite the 5G rollout. It only prevents cities from extorting telecom companies for the right to deploy small antennas. Keeping those dollars out of city tax coffers means the companies will be able to invest in infrastructure where they know it’s needed rather than where bureaucrats decide it should go.

Governments should strive to make “an honest assessment of where the market is,” says Pai, “recognizing that government can’t predict and shouldn’t micromanage the future, and getting rid of the red tape that stifles innovation and progress.”

FCC vs Dept of Commerce on 5G mmWave at 24 GHz:

In May, NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), which are jointly responsible for America’s fleet of weather-tracking satellites, complained to Congress that 5G cellphone signals in the 24 GHz band could interfere with satellites that read water vapor signals coming off the ocean. Among other things, those satellites are critical for forecasting the paths of tropical storms. In 2012, for example, they correctly predicted that Hurricane Sandy would make an unusual westward turn toward the New York City metro area. Without that tip, the disaster could have been far worse.

NOAA relies on a signal band that runs between 23.6 GHz and 24 GHz, so there won’t be direct overlap with the 24 GHz space that the mobile companies bought, which is currently unused. The federal weathermen say things could get cloudy along the very edges, where the bands run up against one another. Pai’s agency predicts sunny skies ahead because there’s already a buffer zone between the two bandwidths-and because independent testing commissioned by the FCC has concluded that there’s no need to worry.

“The assumptions that undergird [NOAA’s 5G interference claims] are fundamentally flawed,” Pai told the Senate Commerce Committee in June. Among other things, the NOAA study did not take into account the fact that 5G signals will be more focused (“beam-forming signals,” in industry lingo) than the signals sent by traditional cellphone towers, which broadcast in all directions.

In the two years since NOAA initially objected, the agency has not completed a follow-up study to confirm its worries about interference. FCC Chairman Pai told lawmakers he was frustrated by the holdups. “The Department of Commerce [which oversees NOAA] has been blocking our efforts at every single turn,” he said.

If the possibility of interference with weather satellites “is truly a technical problem,” says Joel Thayer, policy counsel for The App Association, which represents more than 5,000 app makers and mobile device companies, “then these agencies can solve it with technical solutions instead of performing political theater.”

Conclusions:

Realistically, 5G technology is going to make everyone better off, even if we can’t predict exactly how. When the first 4G smartphones went on the market in 2009, they were expected to usher in an explosion of new apps and other software. But few could have predicted the specifics, from Uber to Fortnite.

The same will be true for the 5G era. Brent Skorup, a senior research fellow at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University, predicts we’ll get “warehouse-floor robots that self-organize shipments, remotely operated electric air taxis that carry passengers high above rush-hour traffic, or smart glasses that connect blind people with professional guides who use audiovideo feeds to help wearers get around.”

Fast mobile connectivity is the foundation for whatever future innovations may develop. It promises more jobs, better communication, more enjoyable leisure time, and medical advances that let us live longer. “The speed of our connections is the speed of commerce,” says Adams, who favors the mostly hands-off approach the FCC has been taking with the 5G rollout. Whether for work or for play, he says, “the availability of virtually unlimited data is only going to improve the quality of life.”

The ability to move more data more quickly will open the door to new medical technologies, giving doctors volumes of information about patients even without being in the same room.

FCC Acts to Speed Deployment of Next-Gen Wireless Infrastructure; Interview with FCC Chair Ajit Pai

Accelerating Wireless Broadband Deployment by Removing Barriers to Infrastructure Investment, Second Report and Order

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) recently adopted new rules streamlining the wireless infrastructure siting review process to facilitate the
deployment of next-generation wireless facilities.  The FCC Order focuses on ensuring the Commission’s rules properly address the differences
between large and small wireless facilities, and clarifies the treatment of small cell deployments.

Specifically, the Order:
 Excludes small wireless facilities deployed on non-Tribal lands from National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA) and National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) review, concluding that these facilities are not “undertakings” or “major federal actions.”

 Small wireless facilities deployments continue to be subject to currently applicable state and local government approval requirements.

 Clarifies and makes improvements to the process for Tribal participation in Section 106 historic preservation reviews for large wireless facilities where NHPA/NEPA review is still required.

 Removes the requirement that applicants file Environmental Assessments solely due to the location of a proposed facility in a floodplain, as long as certain conditions are met.

 Establishes timeframes for the Commission to act on Environmental Assessments.

The FCC said that those actions will reduce regulatory impediments to deploying small cells needed for 5G and help to expand the reach of 5G for faster, more reliable wireless service and other advanced wireless technologies to more Americans.

Statement by FCC Chairman Ajit Pai:

Re: Accelerating Wireless Broadband Deployment by Removing Barriers to Infrastructure Investment, WT Docket No. 17-79

If the United States is going to lead the world in 5G, we need to modernize our wireless infrastructure regulations. Our efforts to unleash spectrum for consumer use are necessary, but they aren’t sufficient to secure our 5G future. In fact, they’ll be pointless if carriers can’t deploy the physical infrastructure needed to bring next-generation services to the American people.

And unfortunately, our current wireless infrastructure rules are a poor fit for the 5G networks of the future. They were designed with 200-foot towers in mind, not the highly-densified networks of small cells that will be common in the 5G world.

That’s why today’s Order is so important. We take a giant leap forward in updating our wireless infrastructure rules. By cutting unnecessary red tape, we’ll make it substantially easier for carriers to build next-generation wireless networks throughout the United States. That means faster and more reliable wireless services for American consumers and businesses. That means more wireless innovation, such as novel applications based on the Internet of Things. And ultimately, that means American leadership in 5G.

Specifically, we clarify today that small cells are inherently different from large towers. So they shouldn’t face identical regulatory review under the National Historic Preservation Act and National Environmental Policy Act. We also streamline the process for Tribal review notifications through our Tower Construction Notification System……………………..

* * *

Lately, there’s been a lot of talk about American leadership in 5G. But talk is cheap; action is what actually matters. And now is the time for action. A vote for this Order is a vote for concrete action that will help toohe United States lead the world in 5G. It’s a vote for better, faster, and cheaper mobile broadband for the American people. It’s a vote for making the United States the best home for wireless innovation and investment. And it’s a vote to extend digital opportunity to more of our citizens. That future is a bright one, and it’s one I’m determined to deliver by supporting this Order.

Read more at: https://transition.fcc.gov/Daily_Releases/Daily_Business/2018/db0330/FCC-18-30A2.pdf

Related:  Ken Pyle’s interview with FCC Chair Pai on Digital Opportunities through Grassroots Efforts

and this article:  Will the FCC Amend Rules for Small Cells….

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Addendum:

According to Lightreading, AT&T has applied to the FCC for an experimental radio license to hold “5G” related tests in Burbank, CA using 28GHz base stations and terminals, connecting within 100 meters of the base station.

 

AT&T: Mobile 5G will use mm wave & small cells

AT&T says it will use small cells for its mobile “5G” service planned for 12 U.S. cities this year. The company’s first of these roll outs will use millimeter wave [1] spectrum, which offers higher capacity rates than low-band spectrum but does not propagate over large distances. That requires transmit/receive radios need to closer together than they are in LTE deployments.

Note 1.  Millimeter wave (also millimeter band) is the band of spectrum between 30 gigahertz (Ghz) and 300 Ghz.

“Millimeter wave is more associated with small cell-like ranges and heights,” said AT&T’s Hank Kafka, VP of network architecture. “It can be on telephone poles or light poles or building rooftops or on towers, but generally if you’re putting it on towers it’s at a lower height than you would put a high-powered macrocell, because of the propagation characteristics.”

“5G will change the way we live, work and enjoy entertainment,” said Melissa Arnoldi, president, AT&T Technology and Operations. “We’re moving quickly to begin deploying mobile 5G this year and start unlocking the future of connectivity for consumers and businesses. With faster speeds and ultra-low latency, 5G will ultimately deliver and enhance experiences like virtual reality, future driverless cars, immersive 4K video and more.”

AT&T has announced 23 cities that are getting its 5G Evolution infrastructure, which the company describes as “the foundation for mobile 5G.” Those cities are Atlanta; Austin; Boston; Bridgeport, Connecticut; Buffalo, New York; Chicago; Fresno, CA; Greenville, South Carolina; Hartford, Connecticut; Houston; Indianapolis; Los Angeles; Louisville; Memphis; Nashville; New Orleans; Oklahoma City; Pittsburgh; San Antonio; San Diego; San Francisco; Tulsa, Oklahoma and Sacramento, California.

AT&T’s deployment of small cells to support mobile 5G will be largely independent of another 2017 AT&T infrastructure initiative – the build-out of the 700 MHz spectrum for FirstNet.

“Where appropriate we’re always going to try and get as much synergy as we can … but there’s a difference between dealing with small cell sites and dealing with macro sites,” Kafka said.

“You’ll find that a lot of radios that suppliers are putting out now are going to be upgradeable to support 5G,” Kafka said. “Some of the radios we’re deploying now do have that capability in the hardware.”

Kafka said that in some instances, tower crews might be able to add “5G” equipment near the base of the tower at the same time they add 700 MHz radios to the top. But the synergies between the two deployments are limited.

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In sharp contrast to AT&Ts endorsement of millimeter wave technology, Sprint’s CTO John Saw said last week that he is not sure that using millimeter waves to deliver 5G services is a practical economic use of the high-band spectrum and that Sprint will be focusing on using its existing bandwidth to initially deploy 5G.

“What is the cost to deliver a bit over millimeter waves? Where is the business case on that?” John Saw asked at the Citi conference in Las Vegas.

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Verizon CTO Hans Vestberg told a CES panel last week that Verizon “will be first” to deploy 5G.  Verizon is moving ahead with deployment of pre-standard fixed-wireless 5G service, starting with a rollout in Sacramento, California in the second half of this year. But Vestberg noted fixed-wireless is just one part of what Verizon plans to do with 5G.

“From 5G you can do different slices. We are now focusing on one slice, which is basically residential broadband to deliver superior performance quicker to market…That’s one use case, we can talk about many others.”

References:

https://www.rcrwireless.com/20180111/carriers/att-mobile-5g-will-rely-on-small-cells-tag4

https://policyforum.att.com/att-innovations/preparing-5g-need-small-cell-technology/

http://about.att.com/story/att_to_launch_mobile_5g_in_2018.html

https://techblog.comsoc.org/category/5g/

http://www.lightreading.com/mobile/5g/sprint-says-no-to-mmwave-yes-to-mobile-5g/d/d-id/739592

Verizon CTO vows to beat AT&T to 5G

 

 

Small Cell Forum Operator Survey: 36% compound annual growth between 2015 and 2025 in small cells

Overview:

The Small Cell Forum (SCF) commissioned an in-depth survey from Rethink Technology Research to understand more about their deployment plans and business drivers for a dense HetNet, and the barriers they need to overcome.  Over 50 tier 1 and 2 mobile and converged operators responded to this survey, which illuminates operators’ deployment plans for network densification, as well as the barriers they expect to have to overcome.

The results showed that cell densification has begun in today’s LTE networks and will intensify in the 5G era, enabled by profound changes to the architecture and economics of small cells.

The SCF forecasts that between 2015 and 2025, new non-residential small cell deployments will grow at a compound annual rate of 36%, to reach almost 8.5 million, and by 2025 deployments will be 22 times higher than in 2015.

Densification is starting in LTE networks and will intensify in the 5G era, enabled by profound changes to the architecture and economics of small cells.

Key findings:
It is clear from the results of the survey that most mobile network operators (MNOs) are starting to plan for dense HetNets, even if they do not intend to deploy the 5G radio network at scale until well into the 2020s. The biggest uptick in new deployments of small cells will be seen in the 2018-2020 period, with a 50% increase, with a second sharp increase in 2023-2024 as 5G densification gets into full swing.
This indicates that many operators are densifying their networks long before they upgrade to 5G – the start of 5G small cell deployment will come in 2020, with 68% of respondents planning to embark on this upgrade before the end of 2022 and the rest later than that. While a smooth migration path to 5G will be important, most MNOs’ main concerns are with immediate issues of deployment in 4G.

Against that context, the following is a summary of some of the key findings of the survey:
• Only 17% of respondents have no plans for large-scale densification. By
contrast, by 2020, 40% of operators expect to deploy between 100 and 350
small cells per square kilometer in the areas they densify (led by transport
hubs, urban downtown regions and business parks).

• When it comes to 5G, 69% of operators planning 5G deployment before 2023
expect to start small cell deployment in tandem with the macro, or ahead of
it. In the first 2-3 years of deploying 5G New Radio, 58% expect to focus
primarily on small cells, 37% mainly in order to densify the network for
enhanced mobile broadband, and 21% mainly to enable new use cases.

• However, densification will happen well in advance of 5G. When asked to
rank their critical requirements for small cells, operators prioritized those
which relate to the here-and-now, not just 5G futures. Low total cost of
ownership (TCO), multivendor interoperability, ease of deployment and good
macro network interworking were the most commonly cited as top three
demands.

• It is vital for the industry to support the key requirements as soon as
possible, since the survey shows that many operators would be keen to
accelerate their deployment timeline if their concerns were addressed. For
instance, 19% would ideally like to start at-scale deployment within one year,
but only 7% believe that will be practical and affordable.

• The key factors which would enable them to bring their deadlines forward
would be new sources of affordable fiber for backhaul and fronthaul (53%
cited this), followed by lower overall TCO (50%) and easier access to sites
(46%).
• The commercial drivers which are creating this new urgency are becoming
more diverse and business-critical. Supporting improved quality of experience
(QoE) – the main determinant of customer satisfaction – through improved
and targeted capacity emerged as the most important driver (placed in the
top three by 40%). This was followed by lower total cost of ownership (TCO)
for the mobile network (38%), and the ability to deploy new services and
revenue streams based on small cells (36%).
• There is increasing diversity of business cases. On top of mobile broadband,
40% plan to introduce new enterprise services enabled by small cells before
2020 – and two-thirds after that – while for IoT services, the figures are 29%
and 39%.
• Density will allow MNOs to address new enterprise requirements. The areas
where the largest number see a business case for density would be transport
hubs, business parks and corporate buildings or campuses, while significant
opportunities are also seen in medium-sized enterprises and the hospitality
and property development sectors.
• To support business case diversity, there is a need for architectural diversity
too. As well as standalone access points, by the end of 2019, 50% also
expect to have deployed distributed radio systems and 33% clusters of small
cells managed by a virtualized controller.
• Other architectural changes are being actively adopted to make densification
easier and support additional use cases. For instance, by the end of 2019,
75% of operators will have implemented small cell SON (self-optimizing
networks), while 25% will have started to deploy end-to-end orchestration of
physical and virtual cells.
• To improve the small cell business case further, especially in the enterprise,
79% expect to support edge computing integrated with small cells, by the
end of 2022. Enterprise edge applications are seen as the leading driver
(40% placed it in their top three).
• To boost capacity, there is a rising need to tap into new sources of spectrum.
By 2022, 66% expect to be using LTE in unlicensed spectrum, and 45% plan
to have deployed small cells in spectrum above 20 GHz.

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You can download the entire survey (after filling out a form) here.

TBR Analysis of Verizon’s 2nd Quarter Results + Earnings Call Remarks

Unlimited data boosts Verizon’s phone net additions though wireless margins continue to diminish

by Steve Vachon, TBR Analyst

In 2Q17 Verizon was able to report consolidated year-to-year revenue growth (+0.1%, on a historical, non-adjusted basis) for the first quarter since 1Q16, but this was mainly due to $693 million in revenue generated from acquisitions that have closed in the past year, including Fleetmatics, Telogis and, most recently, Yahoo, which closed on June 13, 2017.

Verizon’s core businesses continue to feel the weight of pricing pressures and market saturation within the mobility, video and business services markets. These trends are exemplified by wireless revenue remaining in decline (-1.9% year-to-year) despite the recent launch of unlimited data, competition from over the top (OTT) preventing Fios video subscriber additions and growth within Verizon’s new Business Markets unit being largely contingent on the XO Communications acquisition.

The launch of Verizon’s unlimited data plans in February boosted postpaid phone net additions, totaling 358,000 in 2Q17 compared to 86,000 in 2Q16, as more customers are shifting to unlimited data for its convenience and to support increasing mobile video usage. TBR believes the price point of Verizon’s unlimited plans is also benefiting subscriber growth while minimizing average revenue per user (ARPU) declines as they strike a happy medium, starting at a lower price point than AT&T’s Unlimited Plus program, competing on-par with multiline T-Mobile One Plus plans without yielding to the overly aggressive pricing of Sprint’s Unlimited Freedom promotions.

Maintaining sufficient LTE capacity is critical as the carrier is continuing to rely on its reputation of providing superior network coverage as its primary differentiator to attract unlimited data coverage. TBR believes Verizon is well-positioned to sustain its unlimited data strategy long term as currently only 50% of its spectrum is being used for LTE and the company can continue to add network capacity via small cells, deploying AWS-3 licenses and refarming 3G licenses for LTE. However, Verizon’s network distinctions are becoming less pronounced as competitors continue to densify their networks and move towards 1Gbps data speeds by implementing LTE-Advanced technologies, which will require Verizon to implement new differentiators to stand out in the unlimited data market.

Despite the success of Verizon’s unlimited data plans, wireless EBITDA margins fell for the third-consecutive quarter in 2Q17, declining 170 basis points year-to-year to 45.8%. Verizon’s diminishing wireless (profit) margins are in part due to the carrier’s shift to a non-subsidy device pricing model as decreased equipment subsidies are failing to offset service revenue declines stemming from lower-priced wireless plans offered under this model. Postpaid ARPU is also being limited by Verizon Plan features including Carryover Data and Safety Mode that are helping tiered data customers conserve data usage. Conversely, TBR anticipates the adoption of unlimited data plans will mainly have a stabilizing effect on postpaid phone ARPU over the next year as migrations from customers on less expensive plans will be offset by the cost savings heavy overage customers will realize by transitioning to unlimited data.

Highlights of Verizon’s Earnings Call Transcript: 

Matthew D. Ellis – Verizon Communications, Inc.

We had a strong quarter of execution. First, we invested in our 4G network leadership position, resulting in a sweep of third-party network performance surveys for the first half of 2017, while prepositioning for 5G services. Second, we delivered solid wireless operational performance and financial results in a competitive environment with an increase in both postpaid and prepaid accounts. Third, we successfully completed the acquisition of Yahoo’s operating assets to scale our media business.

Network leadership is the central element of our strategy, and we are continually investing in our network to extend our leadership in 4G capacity growth with densification using small cells, which includes expanding our fiber capabilities. As we prepare for the network of the future, we announced the acquisition of Straight Path for $3.1 billion, which we expect will close by the end of first quarter 2018. Straight Path complements our spectrum portfolio and positions us to lead and further drive 5G technology and its ecosystem. We have begun the pre-commercial fixed wireless trials in eight out of the 11 markets and have our first batch of customers on this technology. As we have previously highlighted, we will have trial results later in the year, and I look forward to sharing them with you.

We had a strong quarter, adding and retaining wireless customers as the momentum from the launch of our unlimited plans was sustained throughout the quarter. We delivered a strong wireless operational performance that reflects customer demand for our high-quality network in a highly competitive market. Finally, we completed the acquisition of Yahoo’s operating assets and immediately began executing on integration plans that we’ve been working on for over a year. We are confident in the execution of our strategy, which we expect to drive profitable growth, generate strong cash flows, and return long-term value to our shareholders.

http://www.nasdaq.com/aspx/call-transcript.aspx?StoryId=4091322&Title=verizon-communications-vz-q2-2017-results-earnings-call-transcript

Total wireline revenue on a reported basis grew 1.2%, including the recently acquired XO operations. On an organic basis, wireline segment revenue decreased 2.8% compared to a decline of 3.2% last quarter. This shift in the wireline revenue trend towards fiber is growing. Organically, fiber based products grew more than 3%, which supports our plans to further invest in fiber. Our emphasis on delivering value to all business customers, from the very small to the large enterprise, was recognized recently in a leading third-party study. More importantly, we won the large enterprise business award for the second consecutive year in the same study.

Consumer markets revenue increased 0.6%, driven by Fios Internet activity. Consumer Fios revenue growth of 4.1% was consistent with the past several quarters. During the quarter, we launched Fios Gigabit Connection in certain markets, which offers symmetrical speeds of up to 1 gigabit per second. In Fios Internet, we added 49,000 customers. Fios Video results were pressured due to softer secular demand for traditional linear video, given growth in the over-the-top offerings, as well as competitive promotional activity. Fios Video losses were 15,000 in the quarter. For the second quarter, Enterprise Solutions revenue fell 4.1% on an organic basis, which was due to persistent trends in our legacy products and pricing compression in the marketplace. On a constant-currency basis, revenue was down 3.5%.

Partner Solutions revenue declined 6.8% on an organic basis, while the revenue mix towards fiber has been trending higher. Within business markets, fiber revenue is expanding, driven by Fios broadband demand, offset by continued pressure in legacy products. On an organic basis, revenue declined 4.9% and improved slightly sequentially.

On a comparable basis, the second quarter wireline EBITDA margin was 20.8%, compared to 13.3%, which included the work stoppage, last year. Sequentially, wireline EBITDA margin was down 120 basis points, primarily due to lower revenue from Enterprise Solutions and Partner Solutions and an increase in operating expense as a result of leasing data center space related to the sale to Equinix.

https://seekingalpha.com/article/4091322-verizon-communications-vz-q2-2017-results-earnings-call-transcript?page=4

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Commentary from Fierce Wireless:

Whether Verizon can maintain its network edge in an era of unlimited data is unclear, however. Recent data from Ookla indicates that the networks of both Verizon and AT&T have suffered as traffic has ramped up in recent months, as T-Mobile recently pointed out. So Verizon must continue to move quickly to meet the ever-increasing demands of consumers as mobile data traffic soars.

“Subscriber trends recovered sharply this quarter; however, this is partly due to an aggressive push behind unlimited that we don’t think is sustainable for Verizon,” New Street Research analysts said in a note to investors. “They have the least capacity per sub of all the carriers, and their network performance is already deteriorating both in absolute terms and relative to peers.  Verizon is also paying for improved subscriber trends with ARPU and service revenue pressure. The recovery in subs is also partly due to record low churn across the industry in general, which we suspect will reverse later in the year with the new iPhone launch.”

 

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