5G Home Internet Is Becoming a “Competitive Threat” to Traditional Cable Broadband As Availability Grows





Mom and Daughter on computer

Despite the uncertainty around what 5G home internet is capable of or where it’s going, the wireless technology has shaken up the broadband industry in the last two years. 

According to a report from consumer insights firm Horowitz Research, 67% of surveyed consumers who are subscribed to a 5G plan through providers like T-Mobile or Verizon are more satisfied with Wi-Fi coverage in comparison to traditional broadband. 

With the carriers loudly rolling it out in an “aggressive deployment,” even if consumers who don’t have access or haven’t subscribed to 5G home internet “know a lot about it.” The technology’s market penetration in the U.S. is still low, just 3%, but Horowitz Research forecasts that more people will subscribe as the service becomes available. 

Out of those surveyed for the report, 49% of TV content viewers who do not have 5G home internet said they are “likely or very likely to consider subscribing when it becomes available in their area.”

One way 5G edges out ahead of cable is in its pricing. Amid economic uncertainties, consumers have been cutting the cord over the last few years in favor of more affordable alternatives. The research also found that 5G ranks higher than traditional internet service providers for “value for the money.” The 5G plans often are straightforward and undercut their cable competitors. 

“5G wireless home internet is definitely a competitive threat to traditional fixed-line broadband providers as consumers look to trim costs for reliable internet, which is now an essential utility,” Adriana Waterston, Horowitz Research’s executive vice president, said in the report. 

While 5G was hyped up as a revolutionary new wireless technology, it has mostly meant faster service on your smartphone. But 5G home internet has grown to become one of the new killer apps of this new generation of wireless standards. 

The fact that trusted mobile brands like Verizon and T-Mobile are nimbly and rapidly incorporating 5G into their offerings further puts traditional ISPs into a “defensive position.” 

That’s good for consumers. 

“This competitive environment will be a win for consumers,” Waterson said. “We anticipate this will drive internet prices down and quality up while all providers focus on delivering the most reliable home internet service for the best value in order to attract and retain customers.”

Cable companies have made their opinions known about 5G. At the Goldman Sachs Communacopia + Technology conference in September, Comcast CEO Brian Roberts questioned the viability of 5G. 

Shortly after Roberts’ remarks, Comcast announced it would launch its own 5G network to augment the wireless service it offers through a reseller agreement with Verizon. The cable company, along with AT&T, joined a 5G Open Innovation Lab dedicated to advancing 5G technology. 

Though it’s clear the internet landscape is evolving, only time will tell what the future holds for 5G and cable.

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