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In early 2021, Verizon bid more than $45 billion in an auction for airwave licenses to accommodate its transition to a higher-speed 5G network. Over the ensuing year, that investment has begun to pay off. CEO Hans Vestberg says customers are embracing 5G faster than they did 4G, with about 25% of Verizon customers using the faster networks as of early 2022. Verizon can charge a premium for those networks, and its profits were up 24% in 2021 versus 2020. (One ongoing speed bump: Rollout of 5G coverage at and near airports was restricted early in 2022 after airlines and regulators expressed concern about potential interference with airplane navigation equipment.) Verizon announced in April 2022 that it was raising its minimum wage to $20 hourly for customer service, retail, and inside sales employees.
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