Comcast plays down FWA threat - Mobile World Live

Comcast plays down FWA threat

13 MAR 2019

Comcast Cable CEO David Watson insisted the operator doesn’t view the rise of fixed wireless access (FWA) 5G as a threat, despite a plan by T-Mobile US to use the technology to supplant traditional broadband.

Watson told an investor conference that FWA at higher frequencies will require mobile operators to deploy “a significant amount of small cells” to make their products viable, which could limit their prospects to densely populated areas.

“When you look at the ability, at scale, to replace broadband…and do that effectively and efficiently, from our standpoint, we believe that our broadband business will compete very nicely,” he said, concluding: “I don’t feel that it’s in any way, shape or form near term a competitive threat to our broadband business”.

The comments come as mobile operators including AT&T, Verizon and T-Mobile move forward with plans for FWA 5G home broadband.

On a recent earnings call, AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson predicted 5G could displace traditional home broadband technologies within three-to-five years.

As part of its attempt to win approval for a proposed merger with Sprint, T-Mobile detailed a particularly aggressive strategy which would see it compete directly with cable incumbents including Comcast. The mobile operator aims to cover 68 per cent of Comcast’s territory with a FWA 5G product and sign-up 9.5 million broadband customers by 2024, which would make it the fourth-largest ISP in the US.

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Diana Goovaerts

Diana joins Mobile World Live as its new US Editor, reporting on infrastructure and spectrum rollouts, regulatory issues, and other carrier news from the US market. Diana comes to GSMA from her former role as Editor of Wireless Week and...

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