Two recent market developments show that carriers are serious about creating sufficient wireless broadband capacity to support upcoming 5G wireless rollouts. One of these is the AT&T/Verizon fight for Straight Path Communications, and the other is Verizon’s announcement to purchase Corning optical fiber.
On April 10, AT&T announced their intention to acquire Straight Path Communications in a deal valued at 1.6 billion dollars. Lucky shareholders of Straight Path saw their shares pop 150% overnight. Straight Path’s key assets are a nationwide portfolio of millimeter wave, mmWave, spectrum, including 39 GHz and 28 GHz licenses. This spectrum will be key for AT&T’s vision of rolling out 5G wireless technologies. Details on the announcement can be seen at http://about.att.com/story/att_to_acquire_straight_path.html
On April 17, the shares of Straight Path jumped an additional 17%. Rumours were that Verizon was considering making a counter bid for Straight Path. As of yet, no formal announcement has been made. Evidently, AT&T is not alone in seeing 5G deployment as being the next key network building block.
On April 18, Verizon announced plans to purchase $1.05 billion in fiber from Corning. The agreement calls for Corning to provide and Verizon to purchase up to 20 million kilometers (12.4 million miles) of optical fiber each year from 2018 through 2020, with a minimum purchase commitment of $1.05 billion. Verizon’s announcement mentioned several reasons for the need to invest in their optical transport network, the first reason listed was “This new architecture is designed to improve Verizon’s 4G LTE coverage, speed the deployment of 5G, and deliver high-speed broadband to homes and businesses of all sizes.” For details on the announcement, see http://www.verizon.com/about/news/verizon-agrees-105-billion-three-year-minimum-purchase-agreement-corning-next-generation
5G wireless is really on the way.