internet use

Fixed wireless access (FWA) has displaced cable as the driver of broadband growth, according to subscriber totals for the third quarter of the year amassed by Leichtman Research Group.

The market research firm found that the top cable companies gained about 39,000 subscribers, wireline phone companies lost more than 136,000 subscribers– while FWA gained 920,000 subscribers.

The top five cable companies were Comcast (32,177,000 subscribers at the end of the third quarter, 14,000 net adds during the quarter), Charter (30,328,000; 75,000), Cox (5,560,000; 0), Altice (4,290,600; 43,000 losses) and Mediacom (1,468,000; 0).

The top five wireline phone companies were AT&T (15,452,000; 57,000 losses); Verizon (7,447,000; 35,000), Lumen (4,256,000; 121,000 losses), Frontier (2,831,000; 4,000) and Windstream (1,175,000; 3,500 losses).

In the FWA category, T-Mobile ended with 2,122,000 on a gain of 578,000 subscribers and Verizon ended with 1,063,000 on a gain of 342,000 subscribers.

In all, top broadband providers added 822,934 subscribers during the quarter and served 110,827,966 subscribers at the end of the quarter.

“Top broadband providers added about 825,000 subscribers in 3Q 2022, including 920,000 net adds for fixed wireless services, along with a minor gain for cable, and net losses for wireline phone providers,” Leichtman Research Group president and principal analyst Bruce Leichtman said in a press release.  “Over the past year, fixed wireless services have accounted for nearly 80% of the approximately 3,260,000 net broadband additions.”

Other takeaways from the research:

  • Overall, broadband additions in the third quarter of 2022 were 101% of those in the year-ago quarter.
  • The top cable companies added about 40,000 subscribers in the third quarter of 2022 – compared to about 590,000 net adds in year-ago quarter.
  • The top wireline phone companies lost about 135,000 total broadband subscribers in the third quarter of 2022 – compared to about 40,000 net adds in year-ago quarter.
  • Wireline telcos had about 550,000 net adds via fiber in the third quarter of 2022, and about 685,000 non-fiber net losses.
  • Fixed wireless/5G home Internet services from T-Mobile and Verizon added about 920,000 subscribers in the third quarter of 2022 – compared to about 190,000 net adds in the year-ago quarter.

In May, the Leichtman Research Group reported that the largest cable, telco and FWA providers netted about 1.065 million new broadband Internet subscribers during the first quarter of the year.

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