Fixed wireless access emerging as battleground for Verizon, T-Mobile US…and cable companies
While not as flashy as 5G applications like autonomous drones or precision robotics, fixed wireless access is proving to be a major new revenue driver for Tier 1 U.S. operators T-Mobile US and Verizon. Reporting its first quarter earnings today, Verizon–who was first to market with a mmWave 5G FWA home internet offering in 2018–said it added 194,000 FWA subscribers.
While Verizon’s first cut at home internet was a pre-standard mmWave version, those Q1 figures represent a standards-based mmWave product, a C-Band-based product, and LTE-backed home internet. FWA for both homes and businesses was called out by Verizon last month at an investors event as among key drivers of new 5G service revenue.
In terms of total broadband subscribers, which includes the cellular products and Verizon’s FiOS service, the company counted 229,000 net additions in the first quarter of 2022, “the best quarter in over a decade,” according to the company. In terms of FWA net adds, the 194,000 figure is a 2.5-times the net additions reported in Q4 2021.
229,000 total broadband net additions, the best quarter in over a decade, including 194,000 fixed wireless net additions, 2.5 times the fourth quarter 2021 level. Between FiOS and fixed wireless access, Verizon has said its goal is to become a nationwide broadband provider.
In terms of competitive landscape, T-Mobile US also has big ambitions. The company earlier this week said that a year after launching its home broadband service, it has crossed the 1 million customer mark. T-Mo anticipates that it will have seven to eight million home internet customers by 2025. As analyst Jim Patterson has written for RCR Wireless News, about half of those customers are expected to come from rural markets, with most of the remainder expected to come from poorly covered suburban locations.
T-Mobile US also said that it has expanded its 5G network to make another 10 million households eligible for the home broadband service, bringing its total eligible households to more than 40 million.