U.S. wireless carriers and broadband-internet providers are fighting to win customers from each other, the Wall Street Journal reports.
Wireless carriers exploited the excess capacity on next-generation networks to win traditional broadband-internet users, while cable companies retaliated with new and cheaper cellphone plans.
The competition, in several instances, helped consumers to beat inflation.
The cost of internet service rose by 1.7 percent in July year-on-year. The consumer-price index rose 8.5 percent in July, WSJ wrote.
The 5G cellular networks have helped carriers T-Mobile US Inc. and Verizon Communications Inc. clock 2.2 million wireless-internet customers through June, often at traditional broadband providers’ expense.
The wireless threat contributed to the cable industry’s worst quarter in years. Comcast Corp. and Charter Communications, Inc. lost residential customers in the most recent quarter for the first time, after multiple quarters of growth earlier in the pandemic.
Comcast and Charter boast nine million mobile-phone subscribers since their wireless service launch in 2017.
However, Comcast Chief Brian Roberts expects the trend to slow down as mobile carriers face capacity constraints.
AT&T Inc. and Verizon raised their prices in 2022 but also launched lower-cost plans to compete with offers from the cable providers.
Comcast also declared lower pricing for customers seeking two or three lines under its wireless plan offering unlimited data.
Telecom analysts warned against the limits to both industries’ encroachment on the others’ turf.
Cable companies lack the cell towers and other infrastructure to make a significant dent in the business of the largest wireless companies.
While T-Mobile can cover 40 million homes and businesses with wireless broadband service, a single cell tower can only handle a specific volume of internet traffic simultaneously.
By Anusuya Lahiri
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