Updated later July 17
AT&T rural fixed wireless deployment announcements are coming fast and frequently. The carrier said today that it has launched the service in parts of 15 Mississippi counties where the company accepted money through the Connect America Fund (CAF) program toward deployment costs. That program awarded funding for rural areas lacking broadband or with only low-speed broadband service.
AT&T rural fixed wireless service provides speeds of at least 10 Mbps downstream, the company said in today’s press release. The service includes a 160 GB monthly data allowance, the company said. Customers can purchase additional data for $10 for 50 GB up to a maximum of $200 a month.
To meet its CAF commitment, AT&T is required to reach more than 400,000 locations nationwide by the end of the year and more than 1.1 million locations nationwide by 2020. The company likely will use fixed wireless to meet only a portion of that total commitment.
The Mississippi news comes just a few weeks after the carrier said it had rolled out CAF-funded rural fixed wireless in parts of eight states and a few months after the carrier announced its first CAF-funded rural fixed wireless deployment in Georgia.
AT&T previously quoted an introductory price of $60 a month for stand-alone fixed wireless service in other CAF-funded areas with a contract or $70 a month without a contract. At that time, the company also quoted a price of $50 for the service when bundled with AT&T other offerings.
The carrier did not immediately respond to an inquiry from Telecompetitor today asking for the price in Mississippi. We will publish an update whenever we hear back on that.
In deploying its rural fixed wireless service, AT&T seems to have gained significant synergies with its other lines of business.
AT&T Rural Fixed Wireless Synergies
AT&T previously told Telecompetitor that its rural fixed wireless service uses existing LTE cell towers, which should help minimize deployment costs.
AT&T rural fixed wireless customers need an antenna installed at their home to receive signals from the towers, which entails a $99 installation fee. The company said, however, that it would waive that fee for customers that purchase the service in combination with DirecTV. Here, too, the company apparently is minimizing deployment costs – in this case, by installing equipment needed to support both services on the same truck roll.
UPDATE: An AT&T spokesperson confirmed that the pricing for Mississippi would be the same as we reported for other areas and that the $99 installation charge does not apply when DirecTV is purchased with fixed wireless service.
The spokesperson also confirmed that the fixed wireless service is deployed in the 2.3 GHz spectrum band and is provided using standard LTE base stations but runs over a largely separate network from the company’s current mobility infrastructure, using separate tower antennas and separate spectrum. This separation, the spokesperson said, will keep one service from interfering with the other.