AT&T Proclaims Itself a 'Modern Media Company' as Verizon Retreats From Content

Telecoms are taking very different bets on the future of wireless

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The country’s two biggest wireless carriers looked like vastly different companies in earnings calls this week.

While AT&T proclaimed that its acquisition of Time Warner and AppNexus finally gave it “all the key elements of a modern media company”—execs repeated the phrase “modern media company” three times during the call—Verizon swore off any further content ambitions as it hunkers down on 5G deployment.

The contrast is indicative of a growing split in each company’s competing visions of what promises to be a monumental jump forward for the wireless industry: the deployment of 5G technology.

AT&T is counting on 5G reaching speeds fast enough that people can trade in their cable connections for wireless plans, allowing the company to compete with traditional television providers.

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