T-Mobile and Verizon are the darlings of the broadband industry, both showing growth that’s outstripping everyone else – combined. Last week, both offered some insight into just how much data their respective 5G home internet customers are consuming each month.
Verizon said in a press release that its customers use an average of 300GB of data per month. T-Mobile Chief Technology Officer John Saw said at a wireless trade show last week that its users consume 450GB of data each month, according to LightReading.
The figures offer a window into how consumers are using 5G home internet service, which, depending on who you ask, could be the next evolution of broadband or “another form of DSL.” Both numbers are behind OpenSignal’s estimated average data usage of a little more than 600GB, but not dramatically so, suggesting it compares to the standard internet service.
Interestingly, the usage is well short of the 700GB of data Comcast customers used, a figure it disclosed in July during its earnings conference call.
When it comes to providing high-speed, reliable internet access, the competition is fierce, and traditional cable companies are falling behind. 5G home internet, referred to in the industry as fixed wireless access, stole the spotlight over the last year, and accounted for about 80% of broadband customers in the second quarter.
Yet there remains questions about the future of 5G home internet. Cable providers think FWA’s days are numbered because the service lacks the ability to keep up with speed and bandwidth demands from customers. At the Goldman Sachs Communacopia + Technology conference, Charter Communications CEO Christ Winfrey said FWA is “just another form of DSL.”
“As consumer bandwidth needs increase over time and as the network capacity of these mobile networks shrinks as a result of the utilization, I think fixed wireless access turns into really just another form of DSL,” Winfrey said.
Even T-Mobile CEO Mike Sievert said there is a limit to how many people it can serve, since the company needs to reserve its capacity for its core wireless service.
LightReading, citing a New Street analysis, noted FWA still receives a large number of former cable customers, but the growth rate is beginning to “flatline” even though the number of customers it’s adding is still far higher than its cable competitors.