While news stories seem to indicate there is a major worker shortage for such things as fiber and wireless deployments, Verizon’s Chief Network Engineering Officer Ed Chan says that Verizon is on track with its C-band deployment plans, and those plans are not being hindered by any notable labor shortages.
Chan made his comments at the Cowen 7th Annual Communications Infrastructure Summit last week. He also said Verizon is working with equipment providers well in advance to ease any concerns.
Earlier this year, Verizon’s EVP and CEO of its consumer group Ronan Dunne, said Verizon would be preparing cell sites during this year in expectation of the arrival of the first tranche of its new C-band spectrum at the end of the year. He said Verizon will not be building new cell sites but will be upgrading existing cell sites in the first 46 partial economic areas (PEAs). Those 46 PEAs include the main urban areas in the U.S.
According to Cowen analyst notes from the conference last week, Chan said when it comes to its go-to-market strategy, the marketing team will have the option to light up all 46 C-band markets in parallel or on a market-by-market basis. And they haven’t yet decided on their approach.
Capex in 2021
During its second quarter 2021 earnings call, Verizon noted that it had spent $8.7 billion in capex during the first half of the year, including more than $160 million of capex related to C-band deployments.
The company said early this year that it plans to spend between $17.5 billion to $18.5 billion in capex this year. And Chan said it still expects capital spending on C-band between $2 billion and $3 billion in 2021.
Chan said Verizon has placed $1.4 billion in C-band orders year to date, primarily for radios from Ericsson and Samsung.
Ericsson is providing Verizon with its antenna-integrated radio (AIR) product, which uses a massive MIMO architecture. Samsung is also supplying Massive MIMO radios to Verizon, along with Samsung’s virtualized RAN (vRAN) technology.