And then there were three…

Sometimes old album titles say it best. Today, AT&T marks the start of the expansion of AT&T’s fixed wireless home internet service called AT&T Internet Air. After offering it in its DSL footprint for the last few months, it is now becoming the third nationwide mobile network operator (MNO) to launch a 5G (where available) internet offer.

AT&T is starting in Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Cincinnati, Harrisburg/Lancaster/Lebanon, PA; Pittsburgh, Chicago, Detroit, Flint-Saginaw-Bay City, MI; Las Vegas, Minneapolis-St. Paul, Phoenix (Prescott), AZ; Portland, OR; Salt Lake City, Seattle-Tacoma, Tampa-St. Petersburg (Sarasota), and Hartford-New-Haven, CT. Notably, Los Angeles is Charter’s largest market and a T-Mobile FWA stronghold, Philadelphia is Comcast’s home market, and Seattle is T-Mobile’s home market. If the carriers are looking for attention, these launch markets are certainly going to attract it. Another very interesting market is Phoenix. Gigapower, a joint venture in which AT&T is involved, is building out fiber in Mesa, AZ. While the two are about 100 miles apart, it will be interesting to see how the two technologies will be adopted in the same market.

With nationwide combined 3.45 GHz and C-Band of 120 MHz on average, and with at least 100 MHz in every market, AT&T can put significant bandwidth behind its FWA offer. The theoretical maximum speed achievable with 100 MHz of spectrum is 2.3 Gbit/s. It is important to keep in mind that what is possible in theory is also possible in reality – and that wireless is a shared resource. Will someone sitting next to a tower be the only person on the cell to get 2.3 Gbit/s? Possibly, but even though quite a few wireless speed testers have reported wireless download speeds of 600 to 800 Mbit/s, it is far from certain on a loaded network. Even half the theoretical speed is still more than respectable. Quieter than its competitors, AT&T has rolled out its mid-band network to more than 175 million pops.

AT&T Mid-Band Spectrum Depth of 3.45 GHz and C-Band