Fixed wireless is “not a great product and the customer ultimately is going to reject it,” AT&T Chief Financial Officer Pascal Desroches told investors today.
Unlike the other two major nationwide wireless service providers, AT&T has not embraced fixed wireless access (FWA) in a big way. Meanwhile, Verizon and T-Mobile have been logging big subscriber gains from the technology.
Without mentioning names, though, Desroches hinted that the success might not continue long term.
“If you look at the amount of data consumed in the home, over time the experience is going to degrade,” he said. “When you start to factor in what is the service being offered at in the marketplace, what is the customer acquisition cost, what is the expected lifetime of that customer, it’s really hard to [get an] attractive return.”
AT&T has what the company considers to be better plans for its spectrum.
“Our spectrum long term provides a great opportunity to expand it and ultimately roll out a new class of service,” Desroches said.
FWA “in certain cases is a nice catch product where we have a copper customer [that] we’re not going to get to in the next 12 to 24 months,” Desroches said in an apparent reference to fiber deployments. “But long term it’s not a solution we want to put a lot of resources behind.
“Let’s not get distracted by chasing empty calories in the near term,” he said.
Desroches made his comments at the Deutsche Bank Media Internet and Telecom Conference.