T-Mobile launches fixed wireless broadband service pilot for 50,000 homes

T-Mobile is launching a pilot home broadband service to a small group of its wireless subscribers ahead of its merger with Sprint to form the “New T-Mobile.” 

It’s the first step in the carrier’s ambition to disrupt what it describes as one of the most uncompetitive industries in the U.S. “We’re walking the walk and laying the foundation for a world where we can take the fight to Big Cable on behalf of consumers and offer real choice, competition and savings to Americans nationwide,” T-Mobile CEO John Legere said in a statement

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The invitation-only pilot will connect around 50,000 homes of subscribers to a fixed wireless access (FWA) service on T-Mobile’s LTE network. The company said it’s targeting rural and underserved areas of the country and expects to be able to deliver 50 Mbps to residents. The service will cost $50 per month to subscribers who sign up for autopay, and will be free of data caps, annual service contracts, or equipment costs. 

After the merger with Sprint is complete and 5G has been rolled out, the new T-Mobile will have the capacity and scale to deliver fixed wireless broadband to residents covering more than half of U.S. ZIP codes, with speeds over 100 Mbps, by 2024, the company said. It also claimed that its unlimited fixed wireless service could save customers up to $13.65 billion a year on home broadband by 2024. 

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Earlier this month, Legere announced in a blog post that T-Mobile would be entering the home broadband market with 5G fixed wireless to deliver competitive service to rural and underserved markets in the U.S. He said that 28.9% of U.S. households and 61.1% of rural households have either no in-home broadband service or only have the option of one provider for in-home broadband service, citing FCC data. 

“New T-Mobile’s business plan is to have 9.5 million customers for our in-home broadband service by 2024,’ Legere said. “We will bring competition, period!”