Verizon CEO: fixed line is so last year, we’re all about mobile now

Speaking at the Goldman Sachs Communacopia Conference, Verizon CEO Lowell McAdam said he’s no longer interested in big cable M&A.

As recently as the beginning of this year there was talk of a merger between Verizon and cable giant Charter but that came to nought. Verizon is all about 5G now, according to McAdam, who cited the Straight Path acquisition (not to mention taking on former Ericsson CEO Hans Vestberg) as evidence of its seriousness in that respect.

The enhanced mobile broadband that comes with 5G will, of course, require some pretty hefty backhaul. But McAdam seems to think that you can’t beat laying your own fibre cable, as opposed to acquiring pre-built networks, when it comes to getting that sort of thing just right, and flagged up Verizon’s commitment to blow a ton of dough on fibre with Corning to substantiate that point.

“I don’t think there is any debate any more that more and more things are going mobile and less and less things are going fixed line,” said McAdam (as transcribed by Seeking Alpha). “And so we’re positioning the company to what I call skate where the puck is going, to be that digital media company that provides mobility services and high bandwidth speeds to customers, no matter where they are.”

On the topic of 5G McAdam had some interesting things to say regarding the ongoing trials we’re constantly hearing about, specifically on the matter of millimetre wave propagation. “We have seen that the foliage doesn’t impact as much as we thought, we can penetrate more building structures than we thought, we can go higher in buildings than we thought,” he said. “We assume six floors, we’re seeing over 20 floors of elevation in the signal. So we’re encouraged by it.”

On the M&A side McAdam also thinks there’s more value in investing in 5G than in cable. I think right now a lot of the fiber companies; their values are a little fluffy compared to what you can build it for yourself and so that’s the path that we’re on,” he said. “…if you look at the amount of capital that’s moving into mobile; if you look at how every internet company is trying to get deeper ties to mobile, that is going to be the center going forward.”

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