You may use Verizon, AT&T, or T-Mobile for your mobile phone service, but would you consider using them to provide your home internet connection?
An increasing number of consumers have taken that step and telecom companies are stepping up the competition. They're urging consumers to cut the cable cord and get their internet over the air.
With inflation a top-of-mind concern for millions of consumers, more people are considering wireless internet at home at a monthly cost lower than cable.
The Wall Street Journal recently reported that T-Mobile, Verizon, and US Inc. had signed up 2.2 million wireless internet customers by the end of June, using excess capacity from their 5G wireless networks. Customers connect to the internet by connecting to cell towers, just as they do for mobile phone service.
Instead of having to install a wired connection, which usually carries an installation fee, the customer simply connects to a wireless modem. So, how’s that working out?
Loretta, of Saint Petersburg, Fla. seems pretty happy with the internet service she gets from T-Mobile.
“My phone broke three days after I bought it,” Loretta wrote in a ConsumerAffairs review. It was amazing how customer service handled the situation. I'm extremely pleased with the service from T-Mobile. I have T-Mobile cell phones and wireless internet and everything they say they do.
But just as with phone connectivity, distance to a cell tower can make the difference between good service and bad. Dennis, of Spokane, Wash. installed T-Mobile’s wireless internet service at his family’s vacation home and wasn’t pleased with the results.
“Their in-home wireless internet took us back 15 years as we would watch for five minutes then wait five minutes for it to download more video,” Dennis told us. “It was okay maybe 30% of the time because it was all about how many users were active.”
Of all the cell providers, T-Mobile may be making the strongest push into home internet. T-Mobile CEO Mike Sievert has said the company is picking up new internet customers in the suburbs as well as in underserved rural markets.
Cable companies fight back
While mobile phone providers are moving into the business of home internet service, cable companies that are losing business to these new competitors are fighting fire with fire. Comcast, for example, now offers wireless mobile phone service.
Comcast’s Xfinity is now offering its internet customers a deal on mobile phone service. Customers who have two lines can get mobile phone service for $30 per month per line.
Xfinity launched its mobile service in 2017 and now has more than 4.5 million customers. Instead of building cell towners, it’s a mobile virtual network operator (or MVNO) that leases bandwidth from one of the major providers.