Broadband industry statistics have been compiled by the Leichtman Research Group which provides an interesting new narrative for the industry. The biggest ISPs added just over one million new broadband customers in the first quarter of 2022, but half of the new customers went to the FWA products from Verizon and T-Mobile.
FWA stands for Fixed Wireless Access and is home broadband delivered using cellular frequencies. T-Mobile and Verizon are aggressively marketing the product, which is touted to have download speeds over 100 Mbps. The market is going to get hotter when Dish gets its launch underway soon. AT&T has also been promising a major new marketing effort to sell the product.
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FWA was originally touted as the replacement for rural DSL. However, both T-Mobile and Verizon report having success selling the product in urban areas and competing with cable companies. This means that FWA success is going to bring down customer counts for other ISPs.
Over the past several years, Comcast and Charter have been accounting for most of the growth in broadband customers. In the first quarter, the two FWA providers and Comcast and Charter together account for 92% of net increases in broadband customers.
There are some interesting numbers inside this report.
- Frontier has clearly turned it around after steady losses for several years and saw growth of 0.7% for the quarter.
- The big loser is now Lumen, which lost over 1% of its broadband customers in the quarter.
- We know that AT&T has been selling fiber connections at a hot pace but is still seeing significant losses of DSL customers to net out at a small positive growth.
- The biggest percentage gainer among landline companies for the quarter is CABLE ONE, with quarterly growth of 1.1%.
- Altice continues to struggle and lost broadband customers for the quarter.