Major cable TV companies are experiencing a slow growth of broadband internet subscribers. The Leichtman Research Group analyzed the top U.S. broadband service providers totaling 96 percent of the entire market and the numbers don’t look promising for cable.
For the first quarter of 2023, only 65,000 subscribers signed up for all leading cable companies while losing 20,000 wireline broadband subscribers. This is a steep decline from the 485,000 new subscribers the companies acquired during the first quarter of 2022.
Cable providers aren’t optimistic about the future of broadband services. Sources report the second quarter usually sees a decline in numbers “due to seasonality caused by students and retirees who turn off services for their summer moves.”
Wireless internet providers are proving to be a serious threat to cable companies who are losing their footing as the go-to connection services. While Comcast and Charter Communications among other companies have added millions of wireless subscribers, T-Mobile and Verizon alone are posing a threat since last year.
Charter Communications’ tactic to drive up wireless and broadband subscriber numbers is to offer a year of free wireless via its Spectrum One offer. Comcast is also offering a limited-time offer to entice customers to stay or encourage them to drop their current wireless provider and make a switch.
T-Mobile and Verizon’s wireless internet services cost much less for home internet. The companies offer further discounts when customers bundle home internet with a smartphone plan. Last year, T-Mobile added 560,000 in the last quarter of 2022, whereas Verizon gained 384,000 wireless subscribers. This year, T-Mobile brought on an additional 523,000 home internet customers in the first quarter.
Earlier this month, both T-Mobile and Verizon 5G home internet customers reported they were more satisfied with their service than Comcast and Spectrum customers. Verizon Fios and Verizon 5G Home Internet ranked higher in customer satisfaction than T-Mobile Home Internet by a small margin. Spectrum ranked midway down the list, with Comcast trailing behind.
T-Mobile and Verizon are both working toward taking a bigger portion of the wireless home internet industry. T-Mobile is forming a partnership with SpaceX to expand into satellite-based services with the goal to bring more rural communities online, an often underserved or unserved demographic.