5G Push Makes Fios TV’s Future Uncertain

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It wasn’t that long ago that entire towns held meetings to complain about their lack of access to Verizon’s Fios-branded, fiber-based wireline service. But while the Fios broadband service continues to grow, albeit more slowly, Fios TV is eroding like everything else in linear TV, losing another 46,000 customers in the fourth quarter.

Most of those users fled before they could experience Verizon Fios TV One, the platform upgrade it started rolling out on a limited basis in December.

“I was looking at the app the other day and it’s leagues better than one it was,” TV[R]EV founder and lead analyst Alan Wolk said.

With Fios TV now in decline, and Verizon firmly fixated on wireless 5G services, “the question,” in Wolk’s mind is, “will Verizon take Fios and make that the vMVPD for their 5G service?”

It’s certainly not a slam dunk they will. Notably, Verizon has packaged Google’s virtual multichannel video programming distributor (vMVPD) service, YouTube TV, in early promotional packages for its fixed 5G service.

“It seems to make sense to use Fios,” Wolk added.

Maybe. Speaking during Verizon’s fourth-quarter earnings call, CEO Hans Vestberg wasn’t entirely clear on Fios TV’s trajectory in the emerging 5G era.

“Initially, 5G Home has been focused on other cities than our footprint for Fios,” he said. “But ultimately, we need to see that our customers have all the choices when it comes to how they want to consume the video. We see the trends in the market.”

It wasn’t that long ago that entire towns held meetings to complain about their lack of access to Verizon’s Fios-branded, fiber-based wireline service. But while the Fios broadband service continues to grow, albeit more slowly, Fios TV is eroding like everything else in linear TV, losing another 46,000 customers in the fourth quarter.

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