T-Mobile's latest "Uncarrier" media event, taking place Wednesday, unveiled more bad news for the cable industry, which is watching its recent incendiary home broadband growth quickly decelerate.
As it turns out, fixed wireless access -- poo-pooed by the large cable incumbents as a competitive non-factor -- might actually be ... a factor.
And T-Mobile is ramping up the promotional assault, offering its "Magenta Max" unlimited wireless customers its 5G Home Internet FWA service for $20 off the usual cheap $50-a-month price.
T-Mobile also said that non-Magenta Max 5G Home Internet customers will now be able to lock in that $50-a-month rate for as long as they're a subscriber.
Of T-Mobile's nearly 109 million wireless customers, only 15% take Magenta Max, but the service tier now represents 50% of the company's new signups.
T-Mobile said that it's FWA service is delivering average speeds of around 140 megabits per second nationwide, which is plenty fast enough for several users in different rooms of a home to stream 4K video at the same time.
T-Mobile is further incentivizing its Magenta Max customers to switch to FWA by offering them a $50 rebate on streaming devices from Roku, Google and other major suppliers. It's also offering these customers 50% of virtual pay TV service YouTube TV for a year. These customers get the first month of service gratis.
It's a bit of a reverse-switcheroo on the top U.S. cable operators, which have for several years enticed their home internet customers to also adopt their nascent wireless offerings with aggressive cross-promotions.
Cable operators have dismissed FWA as not having the needed network capacity to compete in a world moving to a "10G" future.
But in case they haven't noticed, inflation is trending right now, and the average monthly price in the U.S. for cable broadband now exceeds $70.
Certainly, cable operators, which control 70% of the U.S. high-speed internet market, are facing diminished growth.
Comcast reported the addition of 262,000 broadband customers in the first quarter, which was just over half the 461,000 it added in the same period of 2021. Charter Communications added 185,000 HSI subscribers in Q1 vs. 355,000 a year prior. Altice USA lost 13,000 HSI users in the first quarter, citing East Coast competition from Verizon, a T-Mobile wireless rival with growing FWA might of its own.
T-Mobile reported a gain of 348,000 FWA customers in the first quarter, upping its base to 948,000. Verizon reported last week that it tacked on 194,000 FWA subscribers in Q1.
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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!