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Verizon plans to invest $17 billion this year in 5G, LTE and fiber

2019 was a big year for Verizon in terms of launching its millimeter wave-based mobile 5G service in more than 30 markets and numerous stadiums and arenas. And 2020 will see a further expansion of that 5G footprint as well as extension of 5G into lower frequencies.

In reporting its fourth quarter financials today, Verizon provided capex guidance in the $17 billion to $18 billion range. In addition to the 5G focus, that investment will also pay out further densification of the LTE network and the continued deployment of fiber optic cabling.

“Verizon delivered strong operational performance in the fourth quarter, highlighted by continued wireless customer growth in both consumer and business,” CEO Hans Vestberg said in a statement. “In 2019, Verizon drove innovation in 5G, established a new operating structure and delivered solid financial results. We entered 2020 with great momentum as we expand our network leadership and remain focused on the customer to provide a best-in-class experience. Our 5G footprint continues to grow as we lead this era of transformational change by building these next-generation networks the right way.”

Verizon’s business group reported total revenue of $8.1 billion, less than a 1% year-over-year increase. The consumer business revenue was up 2% year-over-year to $24.2 billion. Total operating revenue was up 1.4% compared to the same quarter in 2018.

For the wireless business, Verizon reported a 3.5% year-over-year increase in revenue to $25.3 billion; full-year wireless revenue growth was 3.2% in 2019. In Q4, the carrier tallied 1.2 million postpaid adds, which is said is the highest Q4 number in six years. There were 1.4 million net adds over the year. Postpaid churn was 1.13%.

For 2020, Verizon said it will spend between $17 billion and $18 billion on capex covering 5G expansion, LTE densification and adding fiber. In terms of revenue, the company expects “low-to-mid single-digit percentage growth…compared to full-year 2019.”

Speaking last week with CNBC during the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, Vestberg said he expects the 5G mobile service to yield revenue in the 2021 timeframe. On network investments, he said, “We’re building the network in a new way so we fit in everything. We do a lot of fiber, we do a lot of 4G, we do a lot of 5G, and we do it all at once.”

ABOUT AUTHOR

Sean Kinney, Editor in Chief
Sean Kinney, Editor in Chief
Sean focuses on multiple subject areas including 5G, Open RAN, hybrid cloud, edge computing, and Industry 4.0. He also hosts Arden Media's podcast Will 5G Change the World? Prior to his work at RCR, Sean studied journalism and literature at the University of Mississippi then spent six years based in Key West, Florida, working as a reporter for the Miami Herald Media Company. He currently lives in Fayetteville, Arkansas.

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