T-Mobile expands its Florida fiber ambitions with help from Tillman

  • Tillman Fiber confirmed that it's working with T-Mobile on its latest fiber network buildout

  • Tillman builds open access fiber networks

  • T-Mobile is obviously getting more aggressive with its fiber ambitions

Tillman Fiber is expanding its fiber networks in Florida, and it has confirmed to Fierce Telecom that it’s “collaborating” with T-Mobile on the project.

The fiber network expansion will serve four areas of the state, including the cities of St. Petersburg, Fort Myers, Naples, Pensacola, Miami, Palm Beach, Ft. Lauderdale and Kissimmee.

We already knew that Tillman was working with T-Mobile in the Florida counties of Pinellas and Polk, which includes St. Petersburg and Lakeland. But today’s news shows that T-Mobile is also planning to offer fiber in counties in and around Miami and in the Florida Panhandle, among others.

Tillman builds open access fiber networks, and it confirmed that this expansion will also be open access. This means that after the networks are deployed, Tillman will lease their use to T-Mobile and other service providers, who will in turn serve broadband to end customers.

Ken Dixon, CEO of Tillman Fiber, stated, “Our expertise in fiber optics and our strategic alliance with a tier-one U.S. mobile operator, combined with significant financial backing, perfectly positions Tillman Fiber to bring high speed internet to communities in Florida and beyond.”

Dixon’s reference to “significant financial backing” refers to the fact that Tillman Fiber was founded by Tillman Global Holdings, which brought Northleaf Capital Partners into the company as a co-control investor in 2023.

For the new Florida builds, Tillman is deploying Nokia’s 10 Gigabit XGS-PON and Nokia’s Altiplano SDAN controller to deliver multi-gigabit symmetrical broadband. End users will receive Nokia’s mesh Wi-Fi 6 solution powered by Corteca. Tillman said the networks can be upgraded in the future to 25G PON.

Asked why Tillman and T-Mobile chose these locations in Florida, Dixon said in an email to Fierce, “Florida is a good place to lay fiber because a tremendous amount of the state is still not served by FTTP.”


T-Mobile has often downplayed its fiber ambitions on earnings calls and investor events. But perhaps that messaging will change in the future because the wireless carrier is obviously becoming more aggressive with fiber.

Recently, the German news outlet Handelsblatt reported that T-Mobile is entering a joint venture with Lumos Networks to build fiber networks in the U.S., beginning in Virginia. Reportedly, T-Mobile will invest at least $1 billion in the joint venture with Lumos.

According to the “availability” tab on its T-Fiber website, T-Mobile is now serving fiber in 16 locations across New York, Colorado, Florida, Minnesota, California and Illinois.