Fixed Wireless Access services from T-Mobile and Verizon added a combined 920,000 home internet customers in the third quarter, driving a rather sudden and dramatic sea change in the U.S. broadband industry, according to new quarterly data published this week by Leichtman Research Group.
In fact, these economy-priced, 5G-powered FWA services led the broader U.S. high-speed internet (HSI) industry to growth at a time when the cable industry has virtually stopped adding high-speed internet subscribers, and losses of DSL and other legacy-tech-based services aren't being offset by additions of new fiber-to-the-home customers for telco wireline operators.
Year over year, T-Mobile have added nearly 2.6 million FWA customers. Since the end of the third quarter of 2021, the top seven U.S. cable operators have lost around 400,000 HSI customers, while the top seven telco companies have bled around 700,000 customers from their home internet ranks.
“Over the past year, fixed wireless services have accounted for nearly 80% of the approximately 3,260,000 net broadband additions," said Bruce Leichtman, president and principal analyst for Leichtman Research Group, Inc.
What's perhaps so surprising is how fast the shift has come. The top MSOs added only around 39,000 HSI customers in the third quarter, with narrow gains by Comcast and Charter offset by losses at Altice USA. In the third quarter of 2021, these same cable operators added a combined 592,400 broadband customers. In the pandemic-influenced Q3 of 2020, they tacked on over 1.3 million customers in just three months.
Wireline telcos, meanwhile, added 550,000 customers to newer fiber-to-the-home services in Q3, but these losses were offset by attrition of 685,000 subscribers to non-fiber HSI services.
In total, non-FWA services lost nearly 100,000 customers from July - September. ■
Daniel Frankel is the managing editor of Next TV, an internet publishing vertical focused on the business of video streaming. A Los Angeles-based writer and editor who has covered the media and technology industries for more than two decades, Daniel has worked on staff for publications including E! Online, Electronic Media, Mediaweek, Variety, paidContent and GigaOm. You can start living a healthier life with greater wealth and prosperity by following Daniel on Twitter today!
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