T-Mobile Fixed Wireless

To date, T-Mobile has only offered fixed wireless access (FWA) where the company has excess capacity not needed to support its mobile business. But the company hasn’t ruled out a capital investment to enable FWA expansion, said T-Mobile Chief Financial Officer and Executive Vice President Peter Osvaldik at an investor conference today.

Osvaldik reiterated T-Mobile’s current FWA strategy, which he called an “excess capacity model.” He also noted that the company’s priority is to protect its postpaid mobile phone business, which offers the highest customer lifetime value. FWA is only offered to customers in cellsite sectors where the full capacity isn’t needed to support the mobile business.

He also noted that the company’s current growth rate of around 500,000 new FWA customers per quarter is “right about the pace we want to be at.”

He added, though, that the company is investigating the question “Are there circumstances under which we might invest incremental capex for incremental fixed wireless?”

Answering his own question, he said “That’s something we’re investigating but have no conclusion for.”

When asked about any plans T-Mobile might have to deploy fiber broadband, Osvaldik had a similar answer.

The question he posed there was “With your brand, with your distribution, with your customer relationships, could you achieve better penetration than a stand-alone fiber player?”

The company is exploring that but has no answers yet, he said.

It’s worth noting, though, that T-Mobile competitor AT&T has already explored that possibility and believes it has an edge in the fiber broadband market, even outside its own local service territory, because its brand is known, and the company has retail locations nationwide. The company is so convinced of that edge  that it has formed a joint venture to deploy fiber to 1.5 million locations outside its home turf.

T-Mobile FWA Tidbits

Osvaldik also shared a few other details about T-Mobile FWA:

  • T-Mobile’s FWA offering has excellent net promoter scores which are 30 points above cable and 10 points above fiber
  • In fourth quarter, the company tested a $25 offer that bundled FWA and mobile with the goal of generating more sales of mobile phones and the offer did achieve that, even though it yielded relatively few activations.

Osvaldik made his comments at the Citi Communications, Media & Entertainment Conference. A replay is available at this link.

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