Verizon: 65,000 LTE Subscribers in 1 Month

Before we get into the whole will-there-or-won’t-there be an unlimited data plan for the Verizon iPhone (we stand by our analysis that seems to back up the view that if there is one it won’t be around for long) it’s worthwhile to break out a couple numbers about Verizon’s Long Term Evolution (LTE) 4G network launch from its earnings reports today: the numbers are 65,000 and $1.3 billion.

The former is the number of subscribers Verizon signed up to its nascent 4G LTE service, even though the only devices available are bulky USB modems for Windows-only laptops, and the service has only been available since December. That seems like a pretty impressive debut for what is essentially a beta-type rollout for Verizon, with services still available in only 38 select metro markets as well as 60 airport locations. Looks like Verizon may be tapping right into that sweet spot the launch targeted, which is business professionals. It will be interesting to watch the LTE dongle and portable hotspot subscriber numbers vs. the LTE smartphone subscriber numbers when all Verizon’s announced LTE devices are launched later this year.

The second number, $1.3 billion, is a bit of a window into how much Verizon had to spend in addition to its normal wireless capital expenditures to help launch LTE and get its network ready for the expected surge coming from having the iPhone available. According to Larry Dignan over at ZDNet, Verizon CFO Fran Shammo said that wireless capex for 2010 was up to $8.4 billion, an increase of $1.3 billion over 2009 spending.

“Our capital spending was higher than 2009, driven by 4G LTE deployment and increased 3G network capacity requirements, which included preparing for the launch of the iPhone,” ZDNet quotes Shammo as saying. This is a little different than the answer former CTO Dick Lynch gave us when we asked a couple years ago how much an LTE network might cost — at that time Lynch said that an LTE network could be done “inside our regular [capex] budget.” I guess it helps to be able to throw in an extra billion or so should that “regular” budget need to expand.

4 Responses to “Verizon: 65,000 LTE Subscribers in 1 Month”

  1. Russ Says:

    I’m apologize for being so dense, but I simply don’t get it.

    For the past three years we’ve been hearing from Verizon executives how superior their network is to AT&T’s - and if it could easily handle the demands millions of iPhone users would place on it.

    And now, we;re suddenly told that “capex” in 2010 was especially high, in part, because of the need to upgrade VeriZon’s 3g network in advance of an iPhone launch.

    Sounds to me like all their prior “we’re better than AT&T” bluster was just that.

  2. Taylor Says:

    Paul

    My question to Verizon is will you guys put out some real numbers. How many of these folks are current customers of your phone service and are bundling your wireless internet?. How many of the 65,000 are new customers to Verizon and are trying your high speed mobile internet service?

    Taking into account a person has to buy the equipment, then they have a usage cap. I don’t see how they can compete with CLEAR. Someone may say CLEAR is not nationwide but it is, their 4g+ card is nationwide. More important the service that CLEAR is offering is a better value dollar wise.

    With Verizon bringing on the iPhone users and high speed mobile internet. I am waiting to see how this plays out.

    Thanks for keeping us informed Paul.

  3. Paul Says:

    Eudy I believe Verizon did say that 41 percent of the LTE customers were new to Verizon. I actually commend them for having real numbers so soon after launch — remember Clearwire wasn’t so clear in the first few months of actual service deployments.

    But I do agree with you that once all these services and devices are out in the wild there can be some meaningful comparisons of price plans and rates and data caps. Let’s see if Verizon and AT&T start providing more tower and coverage data too.

  4. Taylor Says:

    Well said “Clearwire wasn’t so clear in the first few months of actual service deployment” Thank You Paul for the quick reply.

Leave a Reply