Over the past decade, a growing percentage of U.S. households are connected to the internet but do not receive home internet service from a traditional home internet provider. The bulk of these consumers are “mobile-only,” connected via a smartphone or tablet. With the launch of 5G home internet and new low-orbit satellite networks, the market is poised for further shifts. Parks Associates “Fixed vs. Wireless: Consumers’ Shifting Broadband Preferences” study examines consumer demand for broadband connectivity, including demand for new network types and the rationales for broadband cord cutting.

According to the research firm, in 2021, T-Mobile hit 650K high-speed internet subscribers, including both 5G and LTE fixed wireless to the home. It was the fastest-growing US ISP in the 4th quarter. For 2021, it was third behind Comcast and Spectrum.

Satellite providers are beginning to be impacted by cable edge-outs and new fiber builds that are connecting unconnected and underserved households. Fixed wireless has not yet had a material impact on rural connectivity. Mobile-only households – that is, households with a mobile internet subscription via a mobile endpoint device – have been in decline since the beginning of the pandemic. Cost and preference for mobile service are top drivers of broadband cord cutting.

Demand for more bandwidth and higher quality service remain key accelerators across the broadband industry. 5G rollouts have helped drive the adoption of fixed wireless home internet in urban and suburban areas but have not resulted in increases in mobile-only subscriptions. An increasing percentage of consumers report that the quality of their home internet service is more important than its price. This shift comes as consumers increasingly begin upgrading to Gigabit speeds.

Consumers with multiple plans are more likely to report technical issues such as slow upload speeds, issues that prevent them from using the internet, and Wi-Fi dead zones than those with one plan. Employers are also increasingly paying ISPs directly to support their employees with quality, reliable internet – 20% provide their employees with multiple plans reports the firm.

These consumers cancel their home internet service without any plans to subscribe to a new service. Further 56% of home internet cord-cutters report canceling in favor of mobile service, and 44% chose to go without entirely.  Parks Associates also reports 45% of home internet cord-cutters cite that they canceled their home internet service due to either technical issues or lack of availability.

For more information on this consumer study, “Fixed vs. Wireless: Consumers’ Shifting Broadband Preferences” which examines consumer demand for broadband connectivity, including demand for new network types and the rationales for broadband cord-cutting visit https://parksassociates.com/marketfocus/fixed-v-wireless.

– Sadirah Pathan is a contributing writer for Parks Associates 

The Daily


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