Commentary

Verizon Looks Ahead To 5G 'Revolution' As It Relishes Strong Q4

Apple and Samsung may be selling fewer units worldwide, but Verizon is showing no signs of a slowdown in the number of customers using their devices to connect to each other and the ever-expanding cosmos of apps. The largest U.S. wireless network added subscribers for the seventh straight quarter, it said yesterday, with a churn rate of less than 1%, indicating “strong customer loyalty.”

The New York-based telecommunications conglomerate disclosed it “added a net 650,000 new postpaid phone connections during the period, an increase from the net 295,000 new phone connections added in the third quarter,” Sarah Krouse reports for the Wall Street Journal.

advertisement

advertisement

“So-called postpaid customers pay their bill at the end of the month under long-term contracts and are seen by carriers as valuable because they provide a stable source of revenue,” Krouse explains. 

Verizon expects to add 400,000 net new phone subscribers during the period, it disclosed at the the Citi 2019 Global TMT West investor conference at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.

“The carrier benefited from customers adding more lines per account and its ‘mix-and-match’ family plans that allow subscribers to pick and choose the amount of data they need, Ronan Dunne, EVP and president of Verizon Wireless, said.… He added that the carrier was also benefiting from a ‘stretch in participation’ that led to new older and younger subscribers,” Krouse continues.

(“Not surprising, considering we’ve been seeing more and more cases of kids and seniors glued to their smartphones just like the rest of us,” quips Georgi Zarkov for PhoneArena.)

The holiday season was Verizon’s “biggest sales period of the year, according to preliminary fourth-quarter results released Tuesday. That matched year-ago subscriber gains and helped send the shares on their biggest rally in more than two months,” according to Bloomberg News’ Scott Moritz. It will formally report fourth-quarter and full-year 2018 earnings on Jan. 29.

“We enter 2019 excited about the possibilities that 5G will bring, and confident that customers will benefit from the best products, on the best plans, on the best network,” Dunne also said, according to Verizon’s news release.

“After Verizon’s difficult venture into video streaming and online media, [CEO Hans] Vestberg plans to refocus on the wireless business -- including a push into fifth-generation technology, or 5G…. Vestberg, who took over as CEO in August, started the restructuring last month with the elimination of 10,400 jobs through a buyout program. The staff reductions are part of a four-year, $10 billion cost-cutting effort,” Moritz writes.

Meanwhile, without naming its top competitor directly, Verizon CTO Kyle Malady blasted AT&T’s marketing in a blog post yesterday for suggesting that its 4G network has 5G capabilities, as Marketing Daily’s P.J. Bednarski reports.

Not that Verizon itself is immune to a bit of hype about the capabilities of real 5G.

“Verizon, like all of the wireless carriers, have been talking 5G non-stop and Vestberg laid on the superlatives in his address,” writes Roger Cheng for CNET. 

“‘5G changes everything,’ he said.

‘5G is a quantum leap over 4G,’ he added.

‘It's the fourth industrial revolution,’ he laid on.”

Cheng points out that “Vestberg’s point isn't just that 5G will be faster, but that it has the potential to spur new businesses and ways of doing things. The next generation of cellular technology is poised to power the burgeoning Internet of Things trend of connected devices, enable autonomous cars to better talk to each other and spur new areas like telemedicine and streaming virtual reality.”

The 53-year-old former Swedish Olympic Committee president “was athletically clad in a tight Verizon-branded T-shirt that wouldn’t be out of place at an Apple or Google product launch,” writes Daniel Frankel for Multichannnel News

“Of course, presenting what is the top business priority for Verizon, as well as its leading competitors … required Vestberg to define the market opportunity for the fifth-generation wireless technology standard in the most grandiose of terms. To accomplish this goal, he received plenty of onstage help from various Verizon technology partners,” Frankel continues.

“Making a brief appearance, for example, was New York Times CEO Mark Thompson, who presented how 5G could be used for new innovative story-telling techniques…. With 5G, the paper could not only enable its reporters to include interactive and immersive still 3D image and video features with their stories, Thompson explained, its marketers could better target readers based on location, time of day and “mood space” -- kind of like the search and discovery tools streaming video services use to build audiences today,” Frankel continues.

So what do you think? Will “mood space” become a thing?

Next story loading loading..