There has been a significant surge in the uptake of fixed wireless access technology in the US, with T-Mobile US and Verizon at the helm of this rising tide. Most recent data indicates that these telecom giants could well exceed their predicted subscriber goals.
In the second quarter, T-Mobile US and Verizon registered 893,000 customer net additions to their 5G-based fixed wireless access services. Leichtman Research Group’s figures reveal T-Mobile US leading the pack with over 509,000 net additions while Verizon follows closely with 384,000 additions.
This combined increase of nearly 10% compared to the same period last year potentially puts these providers ahead in achieving their medium-term targets in the fixed wireless access sector, as indicated by T-Mobile. The operator set forth on a serious pursuit of this arena last year, projecting a combined subscriber base of 11 million to 13 million by the close of 2025.
That target may seem distant, but the current rate of customer additions suggests that these operators could comfortably meet, if not surpass, that figure. Currently, they collectively have 5.9 million users, with 3.7 million for T-Mobile and 2.3 million for Verizon. Provided their quarterly additions remain stable, they stand to gain around 9 million new customers by the end of 2025, totaling an impressive base of approximately 15 million.
T-Mobile’s December report on fixed wireless access rightly foresaw growth in this area, which has since borne out. The sector’s surge echoes in Leichtman Research’s data. The overall net additions to US broadband stand at 840,000 in the second quarter, which is less than what the fixed wireless access market alone managed to contribute.
The picture is not as rosy for all major providers, though, as many saw a drop in customer numbers during the same period. In contrast, the big cable network providers managed to claw back from a significant loss the previous year, with a commendable performance from Charter leading the way.
The wireline market also posted a weak quarter, akin to the same period last year, with a net loss of close to 62,000 customers. The gains made by the likes of Verizon could not compensate for the significant losses incurred by AT&T and, more importantly, Lumen, who said goodbye to 72,000 subscribers.
It’s fitting then that in the changing telecom landscape, fixed wireless services boast strong performance. Bruce Leichtman, president and principal analyst at Leichtman Research Group, emphasizes this, stating “Fixed wireless services have acquired over 800,000 net adds in each of the past five quarters, accounting for about 4.45 million net adds in that period.” These promising statistics render the fixed wireless sector a compelling area for investment and expansion in the telecommunications industry.