AT&T’s Internet Air 5G home broadband service is off to a quick start.
The carrier signed up 25,000 customers to the service in the third quarter, AT&T CEO John Stankey said on the company’s earnings conference call on Thursday. That’s notable considering it just expanded its service to 16 markets in late August, meaning it effectively had a little more than a month to operate. Prior to the expansion, the service was in three test markets in Los Angeles, Pennsylvania, and Ohio.
The numbers fall in line with the tremendous growth in 5G home internet seen by Verizon and T-Mobile, both of which were more than a year ahead of AT&T. Both Verizon and T-Mobile are slated to share their own third-quarter financial figures next week, with numbers that are likely to be much higher than AT&T’s tally.
5G home internet is currently the star of the show in the broadband world, with growth in this area outstripping all other growth in internet service, whether it’s cable, DSL (which is in steep declines) and fiber. Consumers have been drawn by the simplistic set-up process and the easy-to-understand pricing.
“We view this service as yet another tool in our connectivity toolbox,” Stankey said on the call. “While it will primarily act as a targeted catch product, we’ve been pleased with the positive early reception.”
The company has said it intends to use 5G home internet as a way to move customers off of older DSL lines, allowing it to “catch” subscribers who might otherwise look for alternatives. For the quarter, Stankey noted that the 25,000 customers helped keep its total net broadband additions in the positive.
AT&T’s Internet Air service, for example, costs $55 a month after a $5 AutoPay discount.
Similar to T-Mobile, Stankey said that the ultimate goal isn’t to get people on 5G home internet, but to move them onto fiber. But the deployment of fiber is often slow and complicated like the logistics of laying down more physical lines. For now, 5G is the faster option in many cases.