T-Mobile could make a play into U.S. fiber market

T-Mobile is potentially mulling a bigger play into the fixed broadband space, with the help of open access provider Tillman FiberCo.

According to a recent Bloomberg report, the carrier is in talks with Tillman to become an anchor tenant in a newly formed infrastructure joint venture between Tillman and private equity firm Northleaf Capital Partners.

Fierce reached out to T-Mobile requesting comment on the report. A company representative did not confirm nor deny the aforementioned deal with Tillman.

“As noted in the Bloomberg article, T-Mobile has talked about the fiber pilots we’ve had in select markets for a few years now to see what we can learn and determine where our brand, distribution and team can add value to this area. We’re continuing those pilots to gain more insights,” said the T-Mobile rep.

T-Mobile actually began its foray into fiber in 2021, when it trialed symmetrical gigabit fiber service in New York City with an unnamed fiber provider.

This past April, T-Mobile revealed it began offering fiber broadband in three locations: New York City, Northglenn, Colorado and Pueblo, Colorado.

The carrier said it was partnering with Pilot Fiber and Intrepid Fiber in New York and Colorado, respectively, to provide 500 Mbps and 1 Gbps service tiers.

For Tillman’s part, the company is plotting an open access fiber expansion in the U.S. In August, Tillman scored a $200 million investment from Northleaf to build an open access fiber network in five states – Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Nevada and Texas.

“We decided to build our own fiber because we did not want to acquire a legacy network using older technology platforms and outdated solutions,” Tillman FiberCo CEO Ken Dixon told Fierce at the time.

Fierce also reached out to Tillman for comment on the Bloomberg article and will update this story with any additional information.

In other open access developments, Ubiquity recently announced it’s expanding its network in California and Arizona, while unveiling a brand-new market in Omaha, Nebraska.

But as for whether open access networks will pick up in the U.S., analysts at New Street Research have commented, “Open access networks cover 2% of US households today, and we would be surprised if they ever get to more than 5%.”