There’s been a lot of hype surrounding 5G over the past five years, and to some extent it still exists today. Driverless cars, remote surgery, metaverse – all the buzzwords that have yet to materialize in a real way.
An area where he has significantly contributed to changing our lives? It finally provides long-awaited competition for cable companies to home broadband. I researched whether 5G and similar technologies (known as “fixed wireless”) could replace traditional home broadband over the past year, testing midband solutions from Verizon and T-Mobile, as well as millimeter wave options like Honest Networks.
I dropped my Spectrum subscription and even switched my apartment to Honest, which provides gigabit download and upload speeds to our apartment building for $50 a month. It was great for months, and I would have been happy to continue using it.
At least until Spectrum comes knocking on the door.
Competitive Breed Offerings
Since I left Spectrum, I got a flyer in the mail offering three months of free TV and internet if I came back. There were also no contracts or terms of engagement. The company seems to be hoping that once people sign up, they won’t leave so quickly.
As a sports enthusiast, the lure of traditional cable was certainly appealing for the rest of the NFL and college football regular seasons, the MLB playoffs, and the start of the NBA and NHL campaigns. Getting and managing regional sports networks in New York is a hassle, and the only streaming service that offers them all (DirecTV Stream) costs $90 a month for the Choice package.
Although my internet speeds weren’t as fast as the gigabit promised by Honest, Spectrum’s Ultra Internet offers download speeds “up to 500 Mbps”, which is more than enough for all my work and that of my roommates, video chats, streaming and games.
Plus, even after the three months were up, the internet charges would be $40 per month, a monthly savings of $10 compared to T-Mobile and Honest.
I can’t say this deal is a direct result of 5G internet options joining the fray and adding competition. I’m also not sure if Spectrum offers this everywhere or only in certain markets like New York, but it seems like a newer option.
“We have nationally consistent regular pricing and customer-friendly policies like no modem fees, data caps or contracts,” a Spectrum spokesperson said in a statement. “We often run promotions for new or upgrading customers to give them a chance to sample a discounted service or package, for a specific period of time, before the regular price kicks in. in force.”
These offers are not always reserved for new subscribers. The old trick of calling your provider and threatening to switch to T-Mobile or Verizon, which I noticed while helping a friend with his Optimum bill in New Jersey, helped reduce his bill by $40 a month before that he does not adjust anything on his serve.
Cable companies seem concerned, and perhaps rightly so. Verizon revenue saw consumers are fleeing its traditional wireless phone business amid higher prices, but the carrier added 234,000 consumer “fixed wireless” users.
T-Mobile added 578,000 home internet users in its last quarter and now has more than 2.1 million subscribers.
Comcast, the largest cable operator in the United States, seems particularly worried and this month began airing TV ads against T-Mobile’s home internet, encouraging users to go to its website where it “compare” the two broadband options. A number of cable companies, including Comcast, Optimum and Spectrum, also offer home internet packages with their own mobile services.
“I think you’ll see (cable companies) getting more aggressive with promotions and working to increase speeds to try to counter the momentum of telcos,” said Bob O’Donnell, an analyst at Technalysis Research.
“Given how quickly (home Internet) subscribers for T-Mobile and Verizon have grown, consumers have clearly understood this and seem eager to move away from the cable companies,” he said.
Faster speeds are coming too
Beyond price and offerings, the rise of 5G home broadband has also coincided with another push from cable companies on speed. Comcast’s main point against T-Mobile is that it has more gigabit offerings available and its broadband could be up to 36 times faster than T-Mobile’s 5G home internet.
“Fixed wireless on 5G makes it crucial that cable companies upgrade their infrastructure to be able to claim consistently high speeds, especially on downloads where wireless may struggle today,” said analyst Avi Greengart. for research firm Techsponential.
A wide variety of other providers, including Optimum, Spectrum, Verizon and AT&T, have added new levels of multi-gigabit speeds and expanded their deployments for fiber service, while the three major wireless providers continue to develop and improve the 5G service. This push for faster options should not only hold the prospect of better speeds for those looking for a boost, but also better selections for their needs.
“People who continue to work from home or just want the fastest option will turn to fiber,” says O’Donnell. “Mainstream users now have multiple choices, and people who had limited options (rural, etc.) can finally get something reasonable.”
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