T-Mobile has talked quite a bit about how it manages its fixed wireless access (FWA) connections on a sector-by-sector basis, saying that it doesn't want to provide fixed wireless anywhere that it would degrade the mobile network for regular wireless subscribers.
At today’s Fierce Wireless virtual FWA Summit, Verizon’s SVP of Technology, Strategy and Planning Adam Koeppe was asked how Verizon handles this situation.
He said Verizon has always managed its wireless network on a sector basis to ensure coverage, throughput and latency. “So, in a context of fixed wireless — a use case that's factored onto the network in addition to mobility — we absolutely ensure that the network capacity is there to meet the demand of customers, and that is what we do on a daily basis. That's how we engineer and run the network. And that's really not that much different from what we've done for the last 20 years of wireless.”
Asked pointedly whether Verizon is encountering certain sectors where it’s having to turn people away from FWA, he deflected saying, “A lot of what we do is look at the time-of-day usage for the various use cases on the network.”
Networks are engineered for the busiest time of the day. But the rest of the time there’s excess capacity.
“The interesting aspect of having a multi-purpose network is when that capacity is built to serve a busy hour, you can use that same capacity across multiple hours of the day," said Koeppe. "And where that comes to bear in the fixed wireless concept is traditionally the mobility busiest hours on the network are time shifted from the fixed busiest hours on the network. And so, we're able to take advantage of that time shift of demand.”
Speaking at the UBS Global TMT Conference this week, Verizon CEO Hans Vestberg said the company is only using about 60 MHz of its C-band spectrum, but it actually has closer to 160 MHz of spectrum available, so it has the extra capacity for FWA if needed. In addition, Vestberg said that the company doesn’t have to go back to each site to make any adjustments if it needs more capacity because it has already readied each site for additional capacity.
Koeppe touched on Verizon’s spectrum as well, in relation to FWA.
He said, “When you look at how we manage our spectrum portfolio over time, as your 4G usage declines on certain bands, those bands get very seamlessly repurposed for 5G services fitting into the equation for providing both mobility and fixed on your 5G network.”