Verizon’s Fixed Wireless Growth Slows in the First Quarter


The company added 354,000 fixed wireless subscribers in the most recent quarter, leaving the company with 3.4 million such customers overall

Ted Hearn Verizon’s Fixed Wireless Growth Slows in the First Quarter Photo of Verizon Executive Vice President & CFO Tony Skiadas

WASHINGTON, April 22, 2024 – Verizon Communications Inc. said Monday that it added 354,000 Fixed Wireless Access subscribers in the most recent quarter, leaving the company with 3.4 million FWA customers overall. The company said it added 53,000 Fios Internet wireline subscribers as well in the quarter ending March 31.

Verizon said it added 203,000 residential and 151,000 business FWA subscribers in the quarter, saying the business segment’s 10.2% increase over first quarter 2023 was its best quarterly result to date.

“We have been pleased at how businesses have adopted FWA, and we continue to see strong demand from small businesses and enterprises, which are attracted to the ease of deployment, reliability and the flexibility of the product,” Verizon Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer Tony Skiadas said on a call Monday with Wall Street analysts.

But the new FWA results represented a slight slowdown against the prior quarter, where Verizon said it had added 375,000 FWA subscribers.

“We continue to be comfortable with this pace of growth, believing it provides the right combination of base growth, ARPU [average revenue per user] accretion and the superior experience that our customers expect on the Verizon network,” Skiadas said.

MoffettNathanson, an independent equity research firm, said in a client memo Monday that Verizon’s FWA results “remain a puzzle” and continue to lag FWA rival T-Mobile.

“Growth is still relatively strong, but their quarterly results continue to decelerate, something we wouldn’t have expected given the early stage of deployment and the steady expansion of their Band 76 C-Band footprints. Their results have never approached those of T-Mobile, particularly in the consumer segment.”

For the first time, Verizon released FWA revenue results, saying it had $452 million for the quarter, up nearly $200 million versus the prior year. Skiadas did not say why the company decided now to break out FWA revenue from the wireless revenue segment. Verizon’s quarterly wireless revenue was $19.5 billion.

“Newly disclosed FWA revenue metrics illustrate how important FWA has become to sustaining at least some level of overall service revenue growth,” MoffettNathanson said. “FWA revenues of $452 million were up 77.3% [year over year]. The $197 million increase represents over a quarter (28.4%) of Verizon’s total wireless revenue growth excluding equipment, and 42.1% of consolidated service and other revenue growth.”

During the call, no questions came up about the Federal Communications Commission’s vote Thursday to impose Net Neutrality rules on Verizon and other broadband ISPs.

Regarding the Affordable Connectivity Program – which is expected to run out of full funding this month – Verizon officials repeated that the company had 1.1 million prepaid wireless customers in the ACP, representing the majority of its financial exposure.

Launched in late 2021, the FCC’s ACP provides $30 monthly discounts on the broadband bills of eligible low-income households. The FCC has said more than 23 million households are enrolled.

“The ACP may shut down, but Verizon is committed to providing households with access to high-quality connectivity and reliable home Internet without data caps and we don’t believe income should be a barrier to access,” Verizon Chairman and CEO Hans Vestberg said on the call.

Verizon ended the quarter with 11.1 million broadband subscribers. The company has added more that 3 million broadband subscribers over the past two years, cutting into the growth of wireline broadband ISPs such as Comcast Corp. and Charter Communications.

“This reflects the attractiveness of FWA as an alternative to traditional cable broadband, even in a market that saw muted activity,” Skiadas said.

Verizon officials said the company is pacing itself to ensure network capacity can meet consumer demand. Officials at Comcast and Charter have questioned whether FWA leaders T-Mobile and Verizon have the spectrum resources to handle the growing bandwidth needs of consumers.

The addition of 53,000 subscribers to Verizon Fios, the company’s fiber broadband service, equaled the prior quarter’s additions.

“We’re pleased at how Fios continues to grow in the marketplace, even as move activity across the country remains lower than prior years,” Skiadas said.