5G Wireless? Short the Stock and Question the “Forward Looking Statements”?*

IRREGULATORS v FCC Example 2: Wireline-Wireless Bait-and-Switch

The IRREGULATORS, joined by others, are appealing an FCC decision about the Agency’s deformed accounting rules, which have allowed AT&T and Verizon to use the state-based public utility construction budgets to build out their wireless networks and the other lines of business. At the same time, this caused massive, but artificial losses that help the FCC, AT&T et al. to claim that it is not profitable to upgrade the wired networks to fiber optics, especially in rural areas. The solution they preach now is some vaporware called 5G wireless.

IRREGULATORS v FCC (Click for more info) is our attempt to expose this massive financial shell game, which has gone on for almost 2 decades with no end in sight.

1) 5G Is Turning into the Laughing Stock of the Telecom World.

We always knew that the telephone companies would create yet another ‘fabulous, new and improved’ wireless tech boondoggle because the number 5 comes after the number 4; i.e.; there had to be a ‘5G’ as it comes after 4G. But the reality here is that this is just another ‘promise-them-anything’ bait-and-switch and there have been flurry of articles in the telecom and tech world over the last few months debunking this 5G Wireless vaporware.

Ars Technica 4/23/19

“Millimeter-wave 5G isn’t for widespread coverage, Verizon admits”

Motherboard 4/8/19

“5G May Never Live up to the Hype”

Multichannel News 4/24/19

“Verizon CEO defends his company’s bet on high-frequency spectrum for its 5G rollout as evidence mounts that its not economically feasible”
 
 Light Reading
“Capex figures from AT&T and Verizon certainly don’t reflect a major effort to increase the number of tower sites transmitting 5G signals in millimeter-wave spectrum.”
 
 Telecompetitor
“Analysts Question Verizon 5G Spectrum Strategy: Company Needs Mid-Band Spectrum, But Where Will It Come From?”

Barron’s 4/19/19

“Intel Won’t be in the 5G iPhone, So Why Are Investors So Thrilled?”

Verge

“White House to unveil latest 5G push and rural broadband initiative; Skeptics aren’t sure where all of this money is coming from”

SDX Central

“AT&T Pushes ‘Nationwide 5G’ Coverage Plans to End of 2020”

Daily Mail 2/25/19

“The 5G hype is setting consumers up for a let-down: Experts warn ultra-fast speeds and higher data capacity won’t arrive for YEARS despite promises by mobile carriers”

Apple Insider

“AT&T CEO says faster 5G networks will cost more and be capped”
 
 Verge
“Verizon and T-Mobile agree much of the US won’t see the fast version of 5G”

CNBC 4/23/19

“‘There’s zero chance that 5G is a ubiquitous technology’ by ‘2021’, analyst says”

FierceWireless

“Health concerns over 5G in Chicago”

DSL Reports 4/28/19

“5G Wireless Broadband is Being Ridiculously Overhyped”

Weather Channel

“5G Wireless Networks Could Interfere with Weather Forecasts, Meteorologists Warn”

POTs and PANs 5/7/19

“Millimeter-wave cellular service ‘a gimmick’, for now”

Android Police

“There’s a little bit of 4G in your 5G, and other reasons why that 5G icon on your phone is going to suck”

(NOTE: Some of these articles were listed in an industry daily round up, The BSL List, and we added to it.)

We’ve been pointing out the flaws of 5G for the last four years. 5G requires a fiber optic wire and has a range of 1–2 city blocks. Thus, for years to come it will never cover any significant part of rural areas and it will never even cover most cities.

Huffington Post, 01/07/16 (We were ahead of the curve on this.)

“Verizon Wireless’s 5G Deployment is a 1 Gig Fairy Tale”

Why all this smokescreen? Because the promise-them-anything plan requires no one look behind the curtain at the sub-plot: Verizon and AT&T’s plan has been to get rid of any obligations and regulations on the wired networks, dismantle the state public utilities and hand the wired networks over to the wireless company as private property for personal use. 5G is just the next ‘promise-them-anything-tech’ to help push this through.

2) The Plan for Wireless Substitution of the Wired Networks Is Not New.

The plan to not upgrade the state utility wired networks and instead replace them with wireless (to the home) is not new and has been a long-standing bait-and-switch. In 1994, when the original fiber optic deployments were to start up and down the East Coast, from Maine to Virginia, now-Verizon had gone state-to-state to get laws changed to have local phone customers pay for these upgrades. By 1995, Verizon then claimed it would be faster to bring broadband and cable TV by using wireless cable TV with a company called CAI Wireless. Once all of the deals were complete, Verizon canned both the fiber plans as well as the wireless plans — because the wireless service did not even work as advertised. We even filed a complaint with the State in Massachusetts in 1999 because this meant the Bay State was not getting upgraded — but customers paid for this upgrade.

Fast Forward a Decade: The same bait-and-switch happened in round 2, a decade+ later, with FiOS. FiOS was announced around 2004 and by 2010, Verizon was claiming it had finished the deployments, except for a few areas, leaving at least ½ of their entire territories with the existing copper wires. And then, of course, it was wireless as a substitute that was pitched as the savior.

Harvard Nieman Watchdog, 4/20/12

“How wireless hype is hurting America”

Harvard Nieman Watchdog, 6/25/12

“Angry ratepayers want their broadband; Verizon gives them a can”

Huffington Post 08/13/13

“Are You in a Verizon or AT&T Shut Off Zone? Will You be One of the Disconnected?”

As we wrote:

Lowell Mac Adams, former Verizon Chairman & CEO, June 21, 2012, and former CEO of Verizon Wireless.

“But the vision that I have is we are going into the copper plant areas and every place we have FiOS, we are going to kill the copper. We are going to just take it out of service and we are going to move those services onto FiOS. We have got parallel networks in way too many places now, so that is a pot of gold in my view.
“And then in other areas that are more rural and more sparsely populated, we have got LTE built that will handle all of those services and so we are going to cut the copper off there. We are going to do it over wireless. So I am going to be really shrinking the amount of copper we have out there…”

AT&T has also been leaving out the rural areas from its plans. In AT&T’s 2013 announcement of its ‘VIP’ plan, AT&T made it clear that they had failed to properly upgrade and maintain about 25% of their entire 22 state territory over the last two decades. (NOTE: AT&T deleted most of the related web pages.)

Huffington Post 06/13/14

“AT&T Can ‘Say Anything’: AT&T IP Transition Trials and the Direct TV Merger Documents Contradict Previous Broadband Commitments.”

AT&T’s VIP Plan, 2013

“AT&T plans to expand and enhance its wireline IP network to 57 million customer locations (consumer and small business) or 75 percent of all customer locations in its wireline service area by year-end 2015.
“This network expansion will consist of:
“U-verse. AT&T plans to expand U-verse (TV, Internet, Voice over IP) by more than one-third or about 8.5 million additional customer locations, for a total potential U-verse market of 33 million customer locations. The expansion is expected to be essentially complete by year-end 2015.
“In the 25 percent of AT&T’s wireline customer locations where it’s currently not economically feasible to build a competitive IP wireline network, the company said it will utilize its expanding 4G LTE wireless network — as it becomes available — to offer voice and high-speed IP Internet services

3) The FCC’s 5G Plan: Paid for by AT&T et al.?

While there are some enlightened reporters, most still don’t realize the sub-plot.

Do you think it is any coincidence that FCC Commissioner Brendan Carr, former attorney for Verizon and the CTIA, the wireless industry, did a press conference in Indianapolis, Indiana in a city and state where AT&T had a collection of politicians that were getting foundation grant money and other perks, to announce new FCC regulations that are directly tied to what appears to be ‘model legislation’ about 5G, created by ALEC, the American Legislative Exchange Council, and funded by their members, AT&T and Verizon (who recently left the organization)?

As we documented, since 2017 the FCC has produced a continuous stream of harmful, inter-locking decisions, mainly because there was a voting block created, including former Verizon attorney Chairman Ajit Pai, Commissioner Brendan Carr, and Commissioner O’Reilly, who is a good friend of ALEC.

Medium Rare: We wrote:

“WARNING: 30+ FCC Actions in One Year to Slice & Dice States’ Rights & Consumer Protections.

“On Sept 26th, 2018, the three FCC Republicans; Chairman Ajit Pai and the two commissioners, Brendan Carr and Michael O’Reilly, will out-vote the one Democrat FCC Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel, in a number of ongoing proceedings.
“Starting in April 2017, the FCC created two specific FCC proceedings designed to take away the public interest obligations on communications services, slice by slice. There have been over 30+ different related actions and decisions in just these two dockets to move the AT&T and Verizon agenda along and erase basic consumer protections on all wired services — in just one year.
  • Accelerating Wireline Broadband Deployment by Removing Barriers to Infrastructure Investment WC Docket №17–84
  • Accelerating Wireless Broadband Deployment by Removing Barriers to Infrastructure Investment; WT Docket №17–79;
“At the same time, the FCC is doing this so that it can then preempt the states and cities’ rights to deal with wireless 5G and small cell deployments. By using a pile-on of 30+ actions and decisions over the last year, these FCC proceedings have done a continuous stream of ‘death by 1,000 cuts’. Many cities don’t know that areas can now be shut off, at will, and replaced with wireless, even if it doesn’t work as advertised, or it costs more. This is instead of actually, properly upgrading the state infrastructure to fiber.”

4) Cooked Books? Misrepresentation Is Covered by a “Forward-Looking Statement”?

It is so much easier to have state and federal laws bent to the will of AT&T and Verizon by allowing the companies to make up statements about new products, then get the FCC to make policy decisions based on these statements, even when the product doesn’t exist and will most likely never be deployed as advertised.

Verizon announced 5G deployments: 11/29/17

“Verizon to launch 5G residential broadband services in up to 5 markets in 2018
“Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE, Nasdaq: VZ) today announced it will launch wireless residential broadband services in three to five U.S. markets in 2018.
“As a first application of fifth-generation — or 5G — wireless, these services will use radio signals, rather than copper or fiber cables, to provide customers with unprecedented wireless speeds for Internet access.”

Almost none of this is true. 5G requires a fiber optic wire every block or two, so it is using fiber cables. But notice the words “will”, meaning that –We’re just kidding. Terms like “up to” are also a red flag. In this case, the headline says “up to 5 markets” and the text then says “three to five markets”. And we know from history a ‘market’ can be a few blocks, not the actual entire city. As Ars Technica found:

Ars Technica 4/8/19

“In Verizon 5G launch city, reviewers have trouble even finding a signal…Reviewers struggle to locate Verizon 5G signals in launch areas of Chicago.”

The Verizon 2017 5G press release came with this “forward-looking statement”, which is now at the end of every press release that allows the company to control public policies — and the FCC.

“Forward-looking statements
“In this communication we have made forward-looking statements. These statements are based on our estimates and assumptions and are subject to risks and uncertainties. Forward-looking statements include the information concerning our possible or assumed future results of operations. Forward-looking statements also include those preceded or followed by the words “anticipates,” “believes,” “estimates,” “hopes” or similar expressions. For those statements, we claim the protection of the safe harbor for forward-looking statements contained in the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. The following important factors, along with those discussed in our filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission (the “SEC”), could affect future results and could cause those results to differ materially from those expressed in the forward-looking statements: adverse conditions in the U.S. and international economies; the effects of competition in the markets in which we operate; material changes in technology or technology substitution; disruption of our key suppliers’ provisioning of products or services; changes in the regulatory environment in which we operate, including any increase in restrictions on our ability to operate our networks; breaches of network or information technology security, natural disasters, terrorist attacks or acts of war or significant litigation and any resulting financial impact not covered by insurance; our high level of indebtedness; an adverse change in the ratings afforded our debt securities by nationally accredited ratings organizations or adverse conditions in the credit markets affecting the cost, including interest rates, and/or availability of further financing; material adverse changes in labor matters, including labor negotiations, and any resulting financial and/or operational impact; significant increases in benefit plan costs or lower investment returns on plan assets; changes in tax laws or treaties, or in their interpretation; changes in accounting assumptions that regulatory agencies, including the SEC, may require or that result from changes in the accounting rules or their application, which could result in an impact on earnings; the inability to implement our business strategies; and the inability to realize the expected benefits of strategic transactions.

5) 5G is not profitable once the cross-subsidies are removed. The FCC accounting rules have allowed wireless to be funded by local wireline customers.

As we previously mentioned, and unbeknown to most, Verizon and AT&T state utilities, and therefore wireline customers, have been the investors of the wireless infrastructure.

In 2012, Fran Shammo, former Verizon CFO told investors that the wireless company’s construction expenses have been charged to the wireline business.

“The fact of the matter is Wireline capital — and I won’t get the number but it’s pretty substantial — is being spent on the Wireline side of the house to support the Wireless growth. So the IP backbone, the data transmission, fiber to the cell, that is all on the Wireline books but it’s all being built for the Wireless Company.”

In fact, we wrote two full reports on this wireline-wireless bait-and-switch.

*(NOTE: The title of this article is merely a warning sign to investors — buyer beware, but it in no way should be used to determine anything about the price of the stock. The market is fickle and many times relies more on hype than the actual performance to determine the company’s value or its direction.)

IRREGULATORS v FCC exposes the cross-subsidies of wireless and the other financial shenanigans used by AT&T and Verizon created with the help of the FCC over the last 2 decades.

Learn more about the IRREGULATORS v FCC and how you can help.