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T-Mobile Expands Home Internet Service.. Will this be the next Clearwire Disaster?


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T-Mobile is Expanding Home Internet Service. Will this be the next Clearwire Disaster? Please leave a comment if you plan on signing up or what you think of this broad expansion.

 

https://www.t-mobile.com/news/network/t-mobile-expands-home-internet-to-more-than-450-cities-towns-left-high-and-dry-by-att

 

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Why would it be "the next CLWR disaster"? They're rolling this out the same way VZW did their broad expansion...last week, I guess it was? Basically any sector that has significant available capacity all the time represents an eligible area...so you're basically talking about areas where T-Mobile has touched sites recently to light all of B2 and B66, yet those sites are on the edge of an area that needs density so one or two of the sectors are pointing toward where there are fewer people.

This is where T-Mobile is getting the "20 million households" number from...that's maybe 15% of the US household count. I checked three addresses in various areas, including two where the service is explicitly available in the region, and service was available at none of them. Which is fine...my home address is in an area where T-Mobile doesn't have the capacity on 2/66 to handle this. The second address would probably be out of range for B66 indoors and the B2 network is sorely lacking in that area. The third address wasn't on their city list, and is in a dense enough area that offering service there would be a bad idea.

I tried a fourth address...small town, with a 5G site nearby...and that one actually successfully qualified. The person at that address doesn't need the service right now...they have 100M down, 30M up from Windstream for about the same price...but they're super lucky to be able to get those speeds, and if they were paying more for less I'd have them switch over to this. There's no danger of the network saturating in that area, and while only B2, B12, and B71 are available at that location, that should be enough to provide decent speeds.

Now, I fully expect that T-Mobile will start rolling out 5G modems for this service once they're priced reasonably. That will open up a few additional areas capacity-wise on n71 (remember, T-Mobile gets to use any 600 that the FCC wasn't able to sell at the last auction, and has entered into lease agreements with additional 600 spectrum recently), though the real boost will be for areas that come online with n41. n41 has enough capacity, particularly as channel widths expand, that T-Mobile can offer this service in denser areas. I expect their home modems to use MediaTek chips that support NR CA, so n41 can be used almost exclusively for downlink, with uplink over n71 being strong enough to support efficient modulations, increasing capacity there. Or LTE uplink can be used...plenty of options there.

Note that the hardware they're handing out does *not* support B41 LTE; only legacy TMo bands are supported. So they aren't trying to run a Clearwire style operation at the moment where they just throw 2.5 at a problem and see if that solves it.

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I have this service. I signed up at an address where I already have a voice line in a modified cellular router. I had the user send it to my unapproved address once they received it.

It works fine for an always QCI9 line. Others may find it easier to just add a voice line to their current plan, and put that sim in a cellular router after modifying the IMEI to appear as a phone.

If you can turn some screws and flash a router you are saving like 30 or 40 bucks a month and your line has priority. The only way to add external antennae to their Askey router is with some creative soldering.

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It can't be too much of a disaster.  The only requirement for TMobile is to send you an LTE modem rather than a cell phone. 

All the carriers are doing this. I just wish they were more transparent in the WISP coverage.  Right now it is yes/no based on your address. It would be nice to also have the ability to request a site review (say a couple houses over gets it but you don't). 

I also hope that carriers put effort behind it.  I hope it encourages them to do fuller builds and fuller upgrades.

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This is intriguing to me and my address is eligible. I'll definitely look at it harder once they have B41/n41/n71 enabled modems available.

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5 hours ago, clbowens said:

What surprises me about this is that there are no data caps.

The service is deprioritized vs. phones, so it's just a matter of consistently having capacity available. Caps don't actually do much for peak congestion anyway, hence the move to deprioritization above soft caps.

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This is a great deal for most Americans (especially age 60+) who do not need crazy high speeds for their home devices, but have been getting charged $100+/month from Comcast, Spectrum/TWC, etc.

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My mom had clearwire... Worked great where she was at... Sucked she had to get rid of it..

 

Is perfect for older people who don't need a ton of bandwidth.

 

I will be checking it out for her... Problem is... The TMO tower isn't co-located with the Sprint.. so the signal sucks a little vs band 41.  But that will fix one they get things merged

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  • 4 weeks later...
On 10/13/2020 at 6:52 PM, JimBob said:

This is a great deal for most Americans (especially age 60+) who do not need crazy high speeds for their home devices, but have been getting charged $100+/month from Comcast, Spectrum/TWC, etc.

That $100+/mo is for those crazy high speeds. Even Comcast's 600Mbps regular rate is under $100 at $93/mo.  At least here. The cheapest offering is 25Mbps for $43/mo.

But then talking 60+, these people want their traditional cable TV.  Comcast will have the power of bundling.  Not sure if TMobile is there yet across their services.

 

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10 hours ago, red_dog007 said:

That $100+/mo is for those crazy high speeds. Even Comcast's 600Mbps regular rate is under $100 at $93/mo.  At least here. The cheapest offering is 25Mbps for $43/mo.

But then talking 60+, these people want their traditional cable TV.  Comcast will have the power of bundling.  Not sure if TMobile is there yet across their services.

 

Depends on what channels folks are looking for. Remember that TVision is a thing now, and is a good bit less expensive than bloated cable packages.

Also AFIK the $43/mo is an intro rate with bundling; post-promo standalone rates are on the order of $63. In Spectrum territories, home internet is gonna end up around $75/mo post-promo...yes, it's for 200/10, but there's a huge segment of folks who don't care about that speed.

With all that said, LTE home broadband is going to remain something slated for primarily areas where TMo isn't competing with cable, and once they have 5G home internet online the speeds will exceed Comcast's lower tier(s).

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2 hours ago, iansltx said:

With all that said, LTE home broadband is going to remain something slated for primarily areas where TMo isn't competing with cable, and once they have 5G home internet online the speeds will exceed Comcast's lower tier(s).

I absolutely agree. Despite the wide availability of T-Mobile's home internet, I don't think they expect people with wired cable options to jump at their service. I think T-Mobile is hoping that people who typically use or only have access to DSL or satellite internet will turn to them since they're capable of providing higher speeds than either of those options and often at similar prices.

In my area Verizon DSL only offers speeds of 7.1 to 15Mbps for $40/month while my local T-Mobile tower can give me peak LTE speeds of 250Mbps and averages over 100Mbps at any time of day. At T-Mobile's price of $50/month, that's absolutely a better value for the money. However, I'm also in an area where I pay ~$70/month for gigabit internet from my cable company so T-Mobile home internet isn't meant for areas like mine.

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11 hours ago, iansltx said:

Depends on what channels folks are looking for. Remember that TVision is a thing now, and is a good bit less expensive than bloated cable packages.

Also AFIK the $43/mo is an intro rate with bundling; post-promo standalone rates are on the order of $63. In Spectrum territories, home internet is gonna end up around $75/mo post-promo...yes, it's for 200/10, but there's a huge segment of folks who don't care about that speed.

With all that said, LTE home broadband is going to remain something slated for primarily areas where TMo isn't competing with cable, and once they have 5G home internet online the speeds will exceed Comcast's lower tier(s).

$43/mo is the regular rate for 25Mbps.  $63 regular rate gets you 100Mbps.  We have Charter here too and it is a couple dollars more than Comcast for 100Mbps regular rate.

I know TVision is a thing. Is TMobile doing bundling discounts though? Older folks also want their channels that they watch and these "skinny" packages tend to miss one or more major channels of interest so TVision likely isn't going to be a reasonable choice. Plus there is a ton of competition here.  TVision is also very sports heavy.  Live TV+ with 56 channels, 24 are sport channels. 4 Big 10 and 8 ESPN College Extra. Talk about bloat...

I think if the carriers go into this not wanting to compete against cable to avoid deploying in those areas, that to many they will be doing a disservice.  Landline ISPs have horrible maps. They don't even know sometimes that they have service in a particular area. Example, where my mom lives:  She has access to 4 ISPs. 3 of them offer 1Gbps.  Yet just on the other side of the ridge you are lucky to have 3Mbps DSL, many don't have any internet options but HughesNet. Yet we are all serviced by the same exact tower. I wonder what the exact criteria is to get a site like this flagged for fixed wireless services.

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7 hours ago, red_dog007 said:

$43/mo is the regular rate for 25Mbps.  $63 regular rate gets you 100Mbps.  We have Charter here too and it is a couple dollars more than Comcast for 100Mbps regular rate.

I know TVision is a thing. Is TMobile doing bundling discounts though? Older folks also want their channels that they watch and these "skinny" packages tend to miss one or more major channels of interest so TVision likely isn't going to be a reasonable choice. Plus there is a ton of competition here.  TVision is also very sports heavy.  Live TV+ with 56 channels, 24 are sport channels. 4 Big 10 and 8 ESPN College Extra. Talk about bloat...

I think if the carriers go into this not wanting to compete against cable to avoid deploying in those areas, that to many they will be doing a disservice.  Landline ISPs have horrible maps. They don't even know sometimes that they have service in a particular area. Example, where my mom lives:  She has access to 4 ISPs. 3 of them offer 1Gbps.  Yet just on the other side of the ridge you are lucky to have 3Mbps DSL, many don't have any internet options but HughesNet. Yet we are all serviced by the same exact tower. I wonder what the exact criteria is to get a site like this flagged for fixed wireless services.

Wait, you can get both Charter and Comcast at the same address? That's super rare, and explains why Comcast would have halfway reasonable pricing in your area.

As for maps, I don't think T-Mobile is focusing on building out capacity for home broadband in particular. They're trying to strengthen their network across the board, and providing enough capacity for high peak speeds also provides enough capacity for fixed wireless, so why not sell it?

My understanding of their deployment model is sectors (not entire sites) that consistently have plenty of spare capacity on the LTE side. THat could be on 600, 700, PCS, or AWS, or some combination thereof. If that happens to cover an area with no other internet options that are decent, it's that much easier to sell the service.

Once they get 5G home broadband equipment online, I expect the number of areas with sufficient extra capacity to grow, particularly in places where they have mid-band. Heck, I wouldn't be surprised if fixed wireless was available in 100% of places with mid-band coverage, while for n71 coverage would be necessary but not sufficient.

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14 hours ago, iansltx said:

Wait, you can get both Charter and Comcast at the same address? That's super rare, and explains why Comcast would have halfway reasonable pricing in your area.

As for maps, I don't think T-Mobile is focusing on building out capacity for home broadband in particular. They're trying to strengthen their network across the board, and providing enough capacity for high peak speeds also provides enough capacity for fixed wireless, so why not sell it?

My understanding of their deployment model is sectors (not entire sites) that consistently have plenty of spare capacity on the LTE side. THat could be on 600, 700, PCS, or AWS, or some combination thereof. If that happens to cover an area with no other internet options that are decent, it's that much easier to sell the service.

Once they get 5G home broadband equipment online, I expect the number of areas with sufficient extra capacity to grow, particularly in places where they have mid-band. Heck, I wouldn't be surprised if fixed wireless was available in 100% of places with mid-band coverage, while for n71 coverage would be necessary but not sufficient.

Comcast and Charter do not overlap but do touch each other.  So my Mom has Comcast but you go down her road 2 miles, Comcast ends and Charter begins. The area is old AT&T phone/dial-up service they shut down in like 2013 or so that they never upgraded to DSL.  They deployed FTTH after the DirecTV merger so there are a few places where this new deployment overlaps Comcast and Charter but this is just areas where AT&T needs to go through to get to areas that were unserved.

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