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SES to Accelerate C-band Access for Verizon to Support Rapid 5G Services Deployment

Connectivity solutions provider SES said it reached an agreement with Verizon Communications to expand the mobile carrier’s access to a portion of the C-band (3700-3800 MHz) earlier than the relocation deadlines set out in the FCC’s C-Band Report and Order.

SES said it already has completed its Phase I accelerated C-band clearing ahead the first FCC deadline of Dec. 5, 2021, in what it called a critical step in meeting the FCC’s objectives to rapidly roll out 5G services across the United States, and as a result earned almost $1 billion in accelerated relocation payments. To meet the Phase II deadline of Dec. 5, 2023, SES said it is working to relocate its existing services from the 3700-4000 MHz band and complete equipment changes for incumbent earth stations across the contiguous United States, earning an additional $3 billion in accelerated relocation payments in the process.

According to SES, the new agreement will see it expand Verizon’s access to the 3700-3800 MHz block in certain markets beyond the 46 Partial Economic Areas cleared in Phase I and earlier than the Phase II accelerated relocation deadline. SES said it would install filters and other ancillary equipment at about 500 sites in 2022, comparable to the activities executed during Phase I, and it would earn up to an additional $170 million from Verizon, subject to delivering the clearing on a timeline agreed to by the parties.

“Providing 5G services to as many Americans as soon as possible supports the U.S. economy and enables the delivery of valuable services to the population,” said Steve Collar, CEO at SES. “We will leverage the experience we have gained over the past year and shorten the clearing timeline for Verizon’s spectrum.”

SES said it would incur additional costs to perform this clearing. It said the previously communicated estimate of $80 million of non-reimbursable costs across the entire C-band clearing project is now being increased to $100 million to reflect the magnitude of the agreement with Verizon.

“SES operates the world’s only multi-orbit constellation of satellites with the unique combination of global coverage and high performance, including the commercially-proven, low-latency medium-Earth orbit O3b system,” a statement from SES reads “By leveraging a vast and intelligent, cloud-enabled network, SES is able to deliver high-quality connectivity solutions anywhere on land, at sea or in the air, and is a trusted partner to the world’s leading telecommunications companies, mobile network operators, governments, connectivity and cloud service providers, broadcasters, video platform operators and content owners. SES’s video network carries 8,400 channels and has an unparalleled reach of over 361 million households, delivering managed media services for both linear and non-linear content.”

Verizon Program Aims to Help Bridge Digital Divide

Verizon said it is participating in the FCC’s Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) with its Fios Forward program, which aims to helps low-income households pay for Internet and mobile service. The company says 5G home and mobile customer can also receive discount via ACP.

Verizon says it is committed to helping bridge the digital divide by making high-quality connectivity more affordable for customers in need. For the first time, Verizon is offering free Internet with its Fios Forward program to qualifying ACP customers. These efforts are part of Citizen Verizon, the company’s responsible business plan for economic, environmental and social advancement. The company’s total 2020-2025 responsible business investment is slated to exceed $3 billion.

With Fios Forward and ACP, qualifying customers will have access to premium high-speed Internet without data caps, extra fees or equipment costs, helping them maintain connectivity for virtual learning, remote work, telehealth visits and more.

According to Verizon, qualified ACP customers can now get free access to Verizon Fios’ 100 percent fiberoptic internet, with speeds starting at 200Mbps for downloads and uploads. In addition to offering faster internet speeds than competitors, Verizon says Fios also removing hidden cost barriers, with no extra fees, no contracts and no router costs.

According to Verizon, ACP discounts are available to all eligible customers on home and mobile postpaid and prepaid plans. Customers outside of the Fios footprint can apply the ACP discount to Verizon data plans including 5G Home, LTE Home, HSI/DSL, mobile prepaid and postpaid unlimited and metered plans.

To qualify, a customer must first be approved for ACP and have a Fios Mix & Match plan. Once their service is active and they are approved for ACP, customers must call 1-800-VERIZON to have the Fios Forward discount applied. For additional information visit: www.verizon.com/fiosforward. To confirm eligibility for ACP, check out ACPBenefit.org. Once approved, customers can complete enrollment in ACP by visiting: www.verizon.com/affordableconnectivityprogram.

Verizon Expects 5G Ultra Wideband to Cover 175 million people by End of 2022

Verizon Communications has announced a fast-track acceleration of its to an expected 175 million people by year-end 2022.

At the company’s Investor Day 2022, Verizon outlined strategy, powered by its 5G network and the source for the company’s growth over the next several years. According to Verizon, its Network-as-a-Service strategy was built to drive the 5G economy through an ever-expanding volume of services and technologies that are enabled by 5G Ultra Wideband’s capacity to connect to a massive number of devices at high speed.

Verizon has outlined multiple paths to growth: 5G mobility, nationwide broadband, mobile edge compute and business solutions, the value market and network monetization, stating expectations that it will drive 4 percent service and other revenue growth for the company in 2024 and beyond.

Hans Vestberg

“Through our deliberate strategy of investment and divestment we have already significantly increased the size of our addressable market which, over the next 5 years, should grow an additional $120 billion. We chose a strategy where we not only participate in a much larger market but also a market where we are in the leading position in our paths to growth,” said Hans Vestberg, Verizon chairman and CEO.

Vestberg continued, “Verizon’s networks power a future-proof strategy, built on strong trends in Mobility, Broadband and Cloud. We imagined a world of hyper-connectivity and massive capacity, knowing it would inspire innovation and new use cases. We see immense momentum today and what has us most excited is that we know that our network will support use cases that have not yet even been imagined.”

Meanwhile, Verizon has also unveiled a strategic partnership with Meta that aims to couple Verizon’s 5G Ultra Wideband network and edge compute capabilities with Meta’s technologies to understand the foundational requirements for metaverse applications. The collaboration is expected to explore how Verizon’s mobile edge compute infrastructure can deliver intensive XR cloud rendering and low latency streaming, which are core capabilities needed for metaverse applications. Verizon and Meta are also exploring a range of metaverse opportunities from the future of hybrid work/collaboration to metaverse-related consumer experiences.

Verizon Business also announced a new, cost competitive, turn-key private networking solution with Celona, expected to accelerate the use of private 5G to support a new generation of business initiatives. Together, Verizon and Celona will offer one solution with a common relationship, contract, support center and implementation team. The solution is designed to benefit small, mid-market and enterprise businesses that are looking to quickly deploy a private network that is built on cloud-first architecture, utilizing plug-and-play ingredients, self-organizing wireless and AI for app intelligence. Verizon’s On Site LTE and 5G solution provides customers a private and secure on-premises cellular wireless network on which to run critical business applications and operations. Verizon said its customers can now use a Celona LAN to deploy the private core on-premise, or on any private or public cloud.

Finally, Verizon says the the expansion of its C-band coverage provides additional growth opportunities in nationwide broadband with over 150,000 net additions expected for fixed wireless access alone in the first quarter of 2022. As the company continues to expand its 5G network over the next few years, it plans to:

Significantly expands its fixed wireless coverage of households and businesses, disrupting an existing market and capturing share; becoming its second largest contributor to revenue growth.

Cover 50 million households and 14 million businesses, and have 4 to 5 million total fixed wireless subscribers by year end 2025.

Accelerating Revenue and Cash Flow Growth.

Carriers Waive Calling Charges to Ukraine

The three largest U.S. cellphone carriers said they are waiving charges or allowing free long-distance calling to Ukraine amid the ongoing Russian Invasion.

Verizon will waive charges for calls from its postpaid consumer and business wireless customers and residential landline customers to and from Ukraine through March 10. The company is also waiving voice and text roaming charges for customers in Ukraine.

T-Mobile said last Thursday that, until March 3, it would be forgoing fees associated with international long-distance and international roaming on calls and text messages made between the U.S. and Ukraine.

AT&T announced it would be allowing unlimited long-distance calling to Ukraine. “This offer is valid for all consumer and business AT&T Postpaid & Prepaid wireless customers, and consumer VoIP and landline customers. Unlimited texts to this region are standard with Mobile Share and Unlimited Texting plans,” according to a prepared statement from the carrier.

Manon Brouillette, executive vice president and CEO of Verizon Consumer Group, said “During these challenging times, customers need to stay connected with loved ones in Ukraine,” said. “Waiving long distance charges for customers calling Ukraine will help them focus on what matters: communicating with family and loved ones.”

A prepared statement from T-Mobile said, “T-Mobile is waiving international long-distance and international roaming charges for calls and SMS made to/from U.S. and Ukraine for T-Mobile and Sprint postpaid and prepaid consumer and business customers,” the cell phone carrier said in a statement. This includes calls made within Ukraine to local numbers to cover roaming customers in Ukraine.”

Wireless Carriers Shutting Down Older Networks

According to the FCC, mobile carriers are shutting down their 3G networks, which rely on older technology, to make room for more advanced network services, including 5G. As a result, the FCC said, many older cell phones will be unable to make or receive calls and texts, including calls to 911, or use data services. This will affect 3G mobile phones and certain older 4G mobile phones that do not support voice over LTE (VoLTE or HD Voice), the agency said.

The FCC said that AT&T announced that it would finish shutting down its 3G network by February 2022. It said Verizon announced that it would finish shutting down its 3G network by Dec. 31, 2022.

The agency said T-Mobile announced that it would finish shutting down Sprint’s 3G CDMA network by March 31 and Sprint’s 4G LTE network by June 30. The FCC also said T-Mobile announced would shut down its 3G UMTS network by July 1, and that it had not yet announced a shutdown date for its 2G network.