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Verizon CEO: Go90 ‘A Little Over-Hyped’

Verizon still isn’t sharing a lot of usage and ad revenue results for Go90, the “mobile-first” OTT service tailored for millennials launched last fall, but company CEO Lowell McAdam acknowledged that it has yet to live up to the early buzz. 

“I think it did get a little over-hyped, and I’m sure we contributed to that to a certain extent,” McAdam said Tuesday at the J.P. Morgan Global Technology, Media And Telecom Conference. “But we didn’t believe it was going to move the needle on a $130 billion revenue stream overnight.” 

But he said there’s been enough good signs around Go90 to remain bullish about its prospects. 

“[It’s] one of those things you have to work into, and we’re on pace,” McAdam said. “So, bottom line is Go90 is in a good spot from our perspective we’re going to continue to pursue it, but our expectations are realistic.

McAdam also discussed Verizon’s wired and wireless approaches to broadband access, including its work around emerging 5G technologies and its ability to deliver fast speeds in a fixed wireless setting. 

McAdam reiterated that Verizon has demonstrated 5G-based tech at its Basking Ridge facility delivering 1.8 Gbps. 

“The key for us and I think the rest of the industry is making that a user experience [that] customers really enjoy…whether they are on Wi-Fi, whether they are on LTE-Unlicensed, whether they are 3G or 4G or 5G or whether they want to move back and forth between the fiber in their home or business.”

McAdam also weighed in on cable industry’s complaints raised at last week’s INTX show in Boston about being under heavy attack from regulators. 

“I would just say to those that were complaining, welcome to the pool,” McAdam said. We’ve been swimming in this pool for a long, long time and look our view is when you over regulate an industry there’s so many unintended consequences that it’s usually worse than better, but if you’re going to regulate, then our view is you got to have a level playing field.”

McAdam said Verizon would rather not have to deal with the special access rules for business broadband that could potentially regulate rates for MSO. 

“But I don’t think that’s the kind of regulation that should only be AT&T and Verizon and CenturyLink and Frontier and the traditional telcos,” he said. “If you’re a broadband provider then you need to be over those, you need to be governed by those rules.” 

McAdam was also asked about how the ongoing contract dispute with Verizon wireline workers on the East Coast have impacted the company’s business. 

“We have pushed off installations or doing a lot of installations, but we’re not doing the same volume that we have before,” McAdam said. “We won’t be driving similar numbers in second quarter that we would in first from an installation perspective.” 

Last week, Verizon and representatives of the CWA and IBEW communications workers unions agreed to federal mediation of their current contract dispute.