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Why T-Mobile Is Eyeing the FWA Market

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Oct. 10 2018, Updated 6:30 a.m. ET

Serving 68% of Comcast’s footprint

T-Mobile (TMUS) intends to challenge Comcast (CMCSA) and Charter Communications (CHTR) in the broadband market with a fixed wireless access (or FWA) service. That’s one of the promises the company has made as it works to persuade regulators to approve its proposal to merge with Sprint (S).

Comcast and Charter Communications are very much in T-Mobile’s sights. By the end of 2024, the company wants its FWA broadband service to be available in 68.0% of Comcast’s footprint and 64.0% of Charter’s footprint. T-Mobile’s goal is to have 1.9 million households on its FWA broadband service by 2021 and grow that to 9.5 million households by 2024.

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Verizon’s 5G Home is FWA service

Verizon’s (VZ) 5G Home service, which launched in four US cities on October 1, is a type of FWA. Verizon is offering its 5G Home service free for three months after which subscribers would pay for plans that start at $50 per month.

AT&T (T) also offers FWA service, mostly in rural and underserved locations, with coverage now available in more than a dozen states.

5G to fuel growth of FWA market

The development of 5G networks is expected to expand the FWA market significantly. ABI Research noted that the global FWA market is on track to generate $18.0 billion in 2018, and that’s expected to grow to $45.2 billion by 2022.

T-Mobile has pledged to spend as much as $40.0 billion on network developments, including 5G deployment if allowed to merge with Sprint. In July, T-Mobile signed with Nokia for a $3.5 billion network development program. T-Mobile signed a similar contract size with Ericsson last month.

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