Verizon CEO Says Company Has Room to Grow Fixed Wireless

CEO Hans Vestberg said company has more than enough capacity to meet its 4 to 5 million FWA subscriber goal.

Verizon CEO Says Company Has Room to Grow Fixed Wireless
Photo of Verizon CEO Hans Vestberg from Offshore Norge

May 21, 2024 – Verizon Communications is not worried about capacity issues as it expands its fixed wireless broadband subscriber base, the company’s CEO said on Tuesday.

The company added more than 350,000 fixed wireless access (FWA) subscribers in the first quarter of 2024, bringing its total to 3.4 million nationwide.

“From the beginning, our goal has been to get to 4 to 5 million [FWA subscribers],” Verizon CEO Hans Vestberg said at a J.P. Morgan conference in Boston. “I know that Joe [Russo] and his team, Joe is our head of networks, have way more capacity than 4 to 5 million.”

Verizon purchased nearly $53 billion worth of C-Band spectrum from the Federal Communications Commission in 2021, which the company says opened up an average of 161 MHz for its 5G networks, and thus FWA, across the United States.

“The 161 megahertz of C-Band that we bought, I use a fraction of it today. Or not a fraction, but there’s a lot left in the tank,” Vestberg said. “I’m probably using on average 80 megahertz on the 160, mainly in big cities and now going suburban and rural.”

Some industry analysts and competitors have expressed doubts about whether Verizon and fellow FWA leader T-Mobile have the spectrum resources to continue growing those subscribers, and the additions on that front have been slowing generally.

While Vestberg wasn’t worried about the company’s 4 to 5 million FWA subscriber goal, he said he would evaluate how much further the company will expand on that front once the goal is met.

“I’ve got to deliver on my commitment to the financial market of 4 to 5 million, and then I’ll be ready to sit down and talk about what we’re going to do next and how much more we can do, how we expand,” he said.

Verizon likely won’t feel an impact from the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) drying up, Vertberg said. The subsidy providing 23 million low-income households with a $30 monthly internet discount is running out of cash at the end of the month, despite increasingly frenzied efforts to save it.

The company has 1.1 million customers enrolled in the ACP, out of a total 11.1 million. “Our CFO has said if all of them go away, it could be a [0.5 percent] impact on our revenue this year, but basically no impact on the bottom line,” Vestberg said.

He said the company will continue to offer its discounted Verizon Forward plan to low-income households. The plan gets as low as $20 per month.

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