August 4, 2016 — Verizon Wireless (VZW) showed steady growth and continued network expansion through the first six months of 2016. The company is sustaining its network expansion program. Already touting the largest national network in terms of area coverage, VZW will be the big spender among the national carriers in 2016. Much of that investment is for advanced 4G LTE wireless technology, what VZW calls XLTE, effectively doubling the bandwidth available to its customers.
VZW’s 2016 wireless capital expenditures (capex) are estimated $11 billion, down 6 percent from $11.725 billion spent in 2015. Wireless accounts for roughly two-thirds of the total $17.2-17.5 billion 2016 capex guidance that Verizon provided at year-end 2015.
Wireless capex in 2Q16 came in at $2.8 billion, up 29 percent over $2.2 billion spent in 1Q. The slow start in 1Q16 was the result of a combination of severe winter weather, particularly in the Northeast, and an extended labor strike.
The $5 billion spent in the first six months is 45 percent of VZW’s projected full-year spending. The 1Q slow start is not unusual although 2016 level is below prior years. Still, the company will close the gap throughout the year.
VZW offered details on where it is investing in its network. Of the total wireless capex, nearly half goes into the radio access network (RAN) portion. RAN includes the radios and ancillary equipment needed to provide cellular RF connections to wireless devices. RAN equipment comprises different types of RF systems.
VZW installed more than 1,500 new macrocell sites and added XLTE technology to another 1,700 existing macrocells across the country from January to July. The company points out that these sites are needed to handle exponential mobile data demand growth while providing customers with highly-reliable connections.
Of important note, VZW is in the early stages of deploying tens of thousands of small cells to increase network density. With Crown Castle as its systems integrator, VZW is installing small cells consisting of a radio, antenna, power and a fiber connection. Operating within VZW’s existing network coverage area, small cells are strategically-positioned along busy streets to provide additional 4G LTE capacity in high-traffic urban and suburban areas.
DAS provides indoor cellular coverage in large, high-traffic venues (stadiums, convention centers, office buildings, train stations, airline terminals), and dense, outdoor urban areas.
John Celentano is a principal in Skyline Marketing Group, which provides technology marketing & sales strategy advisory in advanced communications services, and wireless, telecom, data networking infrastructure markets. The firm also develops client-specific print and digital marketing campaigns with customer-focused vectors (media articles, white papers, application notes, emails, advertising, webinars, trade show/conferences, web content, videos, SEO, blogs, public speaking, press releases). Additionally, support is provided for internal positions in market analysis, business development, strategic planning, strategic marketing, product management, product marketing, sales operations.
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