Today, T-Mobile has announced plans to "un-carrier" the home broadband market and launch its own service intended to provide speeds over 100 Mbps to 90% of the US population. T-Mobile's wireless home provider will eventually be powered by the company's upcoming 5G network, but in the meantime, it reveals a 4G pilot program to test the idea.
According to John Legere – T-Mobile's incredible and often hyperbolic CEO, who made the announcement earlier today – 28.9% of US households and 61.1% of "rural" households have access to one or fewer broadband providers. It is over a quarter of Americans who have a choice of home internet at basic speeds, and the image is even more gloomy (45% / 76% of "rural") when looking at high speed 1
T-Mobile's Managing Director is convinced that it can use its standard interference level in the home internet market. "If there has been an industry that needs interruptions other than wireless, it's Cableopoly. So we'll change it the same way we changed wirelessly!"
While T-Mobile's ultimate plans involve delivering home internet service over 5G, currently it has decided to test things out with a 4G LTE pilot program. Markets included in this program have not yet been named, although the company's 4G-powered router will be provided to customers in the program for free, with later upgrades to 5G hardware.
The company ultimately plans to deliver speeds of over 100 Mbps to 90% of the US population via 5G. T-Mobile's technology will be installed even via a router and an app, no setup agreements (or associated fees) required. The company claims that the service will be offered at an aggressively low price without annual service contracts or installation fees, but there is actually a lack of actual numbers at this time.
T-Mobile plans to have 9.5 million 5G broadband customers to the Internet in 2024.
Given the timing and explicit mention of certain parts of the plan following the expected merger, the odds are that this announcement is at least half-way for to ensure that the merger with Sprint is approved by the US Government. Nevertheless, if T-Mobile really has the opportunity to offer more customers real options for home internet, the extra competition can at least help drive high prices in many captive markets down.