Verizon’s VP of 5G Commercialization Brian Danfield indicated the carrier has rolled out its LTE Home Internet fixed wireless access (FWA) system at this particular time because, well, timing is everything.
“At this moment it’s where the technology is at, where the demand is at, and the things we’ve learned,” said Danfield. “We’ve also learned from fixed wireless access in the 5G space as well. We’re balancing our LTE network investment and offering this product.”
Verizon announced last week that its fixed wireless access rollout on LTE for rural areas has been expanded to cover rural parts of 189 markets in 48 states.
Danfield said Verizon has worked on FWA in the past. In 2012 the company announced Home Fusion, a product that used Verizon’s LTE network, along with an antenna on customers’ homes and a broadband router inside the home. The broadband router could connect up to four wired and 20 wireless devices inside the home using Wi-Fi. But the speeds were low, and Verizon eventually discontinued this product.
Verizon’s new LTE Home Internet uses a customer premise equipment (CPE) device that is “built on a chipset to handle the broadband experience we want here,” said Danfield.
The $240 CPE router uses the Qualcomm Snapdragon X20 chipset, which Qualcomm began sampling in 2017.
Danfield said Verizon has “also learned from fixed wireless access in the 5G space as well.”
The company just recently unveiled the new CPE for its 5G Home FWA product. Verizon confirmed the home router is powered by Qualcomm’s long-awaited QTM527 antenna.
The company says customers for 5G Home can expect typical speeds around 300 Mbps and depending on location, maximum speeds up to 1 Gbps. This compares to LTE Home Internet with speeds from 25-50 Mbps.
The cost of the 5G Home service is $50 per month for Verizon customers and $70 per month for non-Verizon customers. This compares to LTE Home Internet, which costs $40 per month for Verizon customers and $60 per month for non-Verizon customers.
In addition to the readiness of the LTE Home CPE and Verizon’s experience with fixed wireless access, the timing of the FWA service also coincides with national outcries for decent home broadband in rural areas. “Our intent in offering this product: we have a rural focus that should be evident,” said Danfield. “We want to bring a broadband option to these areas.”
He said for larger markets, 5G Home and Verizon’s Fios fiber-based broadband “are more competitive.”
At this point Verizon is just beginning the marketing of its LTE Home Internet service, including use of its retail stores and online promotions. “We have a lot more up our sleeve,” said Danfield. The focus is around the benefits and opportunities for fixed wireless access. LTE home internet is a great complement around 5G Home.”