The Big Four US carriers — Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile, and Sprint — experienced mixed results across the board in Q4 2018. While all the carriers experienced positive revenue growth, 5G was top of mind during the quarter as they battled over wireless net phone adds to grow their subscriber volumes.
Antonio Villas-Boas/Business Insider
Here’s how the Big Four carriers stacked up in preparing for 5G during Q4 2018:
- Verizon entered into a new partnership to enhance its Home 5G service in the coming year. Verizon launched its 5G home service in October in four markets and is already seeing success: Half of its customers who signed up for the service were from other carriers. The company announced a partnership with Samsung during Q4 to ensure there will be a 5G-capable smartphone available to use with the service. It’s also been striving to increase the speeds available through the service, and plans to double them within the next few months.
- AT&T likely emphasized its market-leading rollout of mobile 5G to drive up connected device subs. AT&T added 2 million connected devices during the quarter, up 23% from last year. That’s nearly 14 times the number of postpaid smartphones it added and double the number of connected devices Verizon signed up. The company has already launched its mobile 5G in 12 markets and, in the coming year, could look to attract more connected devices to its existing 5G network.
- T-Mobile focused on prepping to enter the broadband market with 5G service. The company announced it will begin to pilot 4G LTE home broadband in 2019 and will eventually transition it to 5G service. Broadband is expected to be a large part of the company’s growth strategy. T-Mobile COO Mike Sievert told the FCC that, if allowed to merge with Sprint, the combined company’s in-home broadband service will directly compete against Comcast, Charter, AT&T, and Verizon. New T-Mobile plans to offer in-home internet services to over half (52%) of US ZIP codes by 2024, reaching into 64% of Charter’s territory and 68% of Comcast’s territory. This will help it gain 1.9 million in-home wireless broadband customers by 2021 and 9.5 million customers by 2024.
- Sprint doubled down on upgrading its current network as part of a stepping stone to launch its mobile 5G network.Sprint more than doubled its year-over-year (YoY) network investment for the quarter, reaching $1.4 billion, to improve speeds, coverage, and reliability on its LTE Advanced network. These investments included completing thousands of tri-band upgrades, adding thousands of outdoor small cells, and deploying hundreds of Massive MIMO radios. Improvements to Sprint’s existing network are important because it will serve as the fallback layer for consumers moving between the company’s LTE and 5G networks.
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Source: Business Insider