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Verizon's 5G sales pitch: Free TV

Verizon wants 5G to become a serious competitor to broadband internet. And it thinks free TV will do the tri...

Posted: Aug 15, 2018 12:40 PM
Updated: Nov 7, 2018 10:53 AM

Verizon wants 5G to become a serious competitor to broadband internet. And it thinks free TV will do the trick.

The telecom company will start selling 5G service later this year. It won't appear in smartphones for some time, but 5G will be fast enough to provide internet service to a home. To entice customers to sign on, Verizon will offer a kind of double-play service that Comcast and its competitors offer: Television.

Partnering with Apple and Google, Verizon will give 5G internet customers a choice: YouTube TV service or an Apple TV. Verizon has not announced the terms, but Bloomberg reports that Verizon will offer them free.

The 5G double-play offer is particularly notable because Verizon has resisted media mergers. AT&T launched WatchTV, a free live television package for 4G customers, days after it bought Time Warner. Verizon wants to stick to digital, with its Yahoo and AOL businesses.

That could give AT&T a leg up. AT&T, which owns CNN, is Verizon's biggest 5G competitor, and it is launching its 5G network in several US cities this year, including Charlotte, Dallas, Oklahoma City and Atlanta. Verizon announced Tuesday that it has added Indianapolis as its fourth 5G city, joining Houston, Los Angeles and Sacramento.

Unlike Verizon, AT&T has not yet announced any TV packages for its 5G internet service.

What is 5G?

5G promises speeds about 10 times faster than 4G. It is expected to appear in smartphones in 2020.

Meanwhile, wireless companies hope 5G can become a cheaper competitor to broadband. Laying cable is extremely expensive — so expensive that Google dramatically slowed its Fiber expansion and Verizon completely halted its FiOS growth. (AT&T continues to slowly bring high-speed U-Verse fiber broadband to new cities.)

5G is expensive, too. In addition to 4G's giant cell towers that beam signals over long distances, 5G will require boxes that are essentially miniature cell towers to be placed all around coverage zones. They'll have to be put inside office buildings and homes, too, because 5G wireless frequencies are so high that they'll bounce off walls and windows that low-frequency 4G signals easily travel through.

Still, digging up and repaving streets, obtaining permits and land rights and delivering fiber cables directly to people's homes is way costlier than installing 5G radios in customers' houses. Wireless companies hope that will give them an advantage against cable mainstays like Comcast and Charter.

Verizon and AT&T plan to go nationwide with 5G by the beginning of next decade, potentially making them a broadband competitor in every city — something they were unable to do with FiOS and U-Verse.

If they have to throw in free TV to reach their goals, that's a deal they'll make every time.

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CountyConfirmedDeaths
New York City22628023556
Suffolk434681997
Nassau434362194
Westchester360491446
Rockland13893674
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Erie8667669
Monroe4821277
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Yates567
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Franklin500
Lewis370
Schuyler220
Hamilton70
Unassigned00

California Coronavirus Cases

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CountyConfirmedDeaths
Los Angeles1958054760
Riverside38487738
Orange38066653
San Bernardino34017477
San Diego30516568
Kern21228151
Fresno15759138
San Joaquin11958180
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Stanislaus9308135
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Marin518076
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Merced458351
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Placer195318
San Luis Obispo192616
Yolo161442
Santa Cruz11964
Butte10128
Napa9809
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San Benito6894
El Dorado6681
Lassen6320
Yuba5334
Shasta3979
Colusa3574
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Trinity50
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Confirmed Cases: 19699

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CountyConfirmedDeaths
Multnomah455393
Washington287723
Marion271368
Umatilla212224
Clackamas144337
Malheur70812
Deschutes5488
Lane5353
Jackson4111
Yamhill39912
Lincoln3959
Union3922
Jefferson3243
Morrow3162
Polk30012
Linn25510
Klamath1981
Hood River1740
Wasco1713
Benton1606
Douglas1391
Josephine1071
Coos880
Columbia840
Clatsop820
Crook431
Baker350
Lake320
Tillamook320
Wallowa191
Curry140
Sherman140
Harney100
Gilliam40
Grant20
Unassigned00
Wheeler00