MoffettNathanson offered insight into fixed wireless access (FWA) deployments in the US, claiming T-Mobile US was gaining most in rural areas and Verizon urban.

The operators have trumpeted FWA this year, but to date neither has given insight on where new subscribers were located, although T-Mobile CEO Mike Sievert previously stated many of its current customers switched from cable ISPs.

Citing network data from Comlinkdata, MoffettNathanson found T-Mobile FWA subscribers “significantly over-index in rural areas, and in areas where DSL is the only option”.

It estimated 33 per cent of the operator’s FWA subscribers were in rural markets despite the homes passed by the service accounting for 6 per cent of availability.

Comlinkdata found T-Mobile had more FWA subscribers in areas where there is one dominant fixed-line player than where both cable and fibre services are available.

T-Mobile previously forecast it could serve 7 million to 8 million FWA subscribers by 2025: it had 646,000 by end-2021.

Verizon’s largely urban focus for mmWave deployments inevitably meant more of its FWA users on the 5G spectrum are in those areas, with MoffettNathanson noting any rural users are likely to be on the operator’s 4G network.

The situation could change as Verizon’s C-Band deployment gathers pace.

Comlinkdata stated 10 per cent of Verizon’s ultra-wideband FWA subscribers were in rural markets; 7 per cent suburban; and 83 per cent urban.

The company estimated 47 per cent of Verizon’s ultra-wideband subscribers came from areas with FTTP and cable competition; 49 per cent with cable, incumbent telephone companies and DSL; and 4 per cent from areas not covered by cable.

Analyst Craig Moffett noted areas lacking cable “tend to be very rural” while mmWave 5G “is primarily available in relatively high-density markets”.

MoffettNathanson stated Verizon and T-Mobile added a combined 302,000 FWA subscribers in Q4 2021, and 719,000 across the full year.