Verizon has fiber square in its sights as the carrier pushes forward with efforts to densify its network with small cells and light up new spectrum.
Speaking during Thursday’s earnings call, CFO Matt Ellis said fiber is a “critical element” in the carrier’s plans to expand both its wireless and wireline businesses.
“We remain focused on delivering increasing capacity over the long term utilizing a three-pronged approach: first, network features; second, densification; and third, spectrum,” Ellis said. “Fiber is a critical element in transforming both wireless and wireline networks to reduce costs and expand future capabilities.”
According to Ellis, Verizon’s recent fiber deals are evidence of the carrier’s commitment to increase its fiber footprint and build fiber deeper into the network. And multi-use fiber will provide a key backbone of support as the carrier works to roll out small cells and more spectrum for both 4G and 5G.
Ellis said Verizon already has small cell builds in progress in all of the top metro markets in the country. Those builds, he indicated, will be a continued part of Verizon’s plan as the carrier transitions from 4G to 5G.
“It’s not just around 4G. As we see 5G being deployed on millimeter wave spectrum, that’s going to require a small cell deployment,” Ellis commented. “So, as we put the densification in place for 4G, we’re doing it in mind knowing we’ve got the 5G that will be using the same dark fiber and other assets. So the densification activity will continue here for a good number of years.”
Additionally, Ellis said Verizon is working to light up more spectrum.
The carrier is currently utilizing just over 50 percent of its low- and mid-band spectrum portfolio, he noted, and has plans to use more PCS spectrum for LTE. Verizon is just beginning to redeploy 850 MHz spectrum in some markets, and is working to bring AWS-3 spectrum and unlicensed spectrum online later this year, he said.
Ellis declined to give details about Verizon’s fiber plans to support these efforts, but did report fiber will be part of Verizon’s capital spending plan in 2018.
Earlier this year, the carrier inked a three-year, $1.05 billion deal with Corning to purchase up to 12.4 million miles of optical fiber each year starting in 2018 and running through 2020. More on that here.
Filed Under: Infrastructure