Kagan: How Cable TV can fight the FWA 5G wireless broadband threat – RCR Wireless News

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AT&T, T-Mobile and Verizon are using FWA against Xfinity, Spectrum and Optimum

All things always change. Consider wireless, telecom and cable TV. Everything in the process of reinventing itself with new competition and new technology. Wireless has been a growth industry for roughly fifty-years. The journey has not been easy. Now, wireless is starting-up several new avenues for growth. Areas like 5G-A, private wireless and Fixed Wireless Access (FWA). Whether you are an investor, customer or industry worker, things are getting confusing. So, what can we expect next?

Let’s discuss the FWA angle. This is one key growth opportunity for the wireless industry. FWA is the technology behind 5G Wireless Broadband. That being said, it is also a competitive threat to the cable television industry with their wire line broadband. 

FWA is new. Nonetheless, wireless carriers are starting to see success with it. They are winning broadband business from traditional wired services like cable TV and even telephone companies.

This has happened before. Remember dial-up internet connections sharing our phone line? New technologies move in and frequently cannibalize existing services. 

Why FWA wireless broadband is suddenly in play

So, what can we expect going forward? Both sides are gearing up for battle… or they should be anyway. So, what will cable TV do in order to compete in this new sector?

Whether we look at FWA as a growth opportunity or a competitive threat, we must understand why FWA is suddenly in the spotlight. 

One of the primary reasons is wireless carriers need to keep growing in order to hang on to investors. That means growth is always their goal.

That being said, they have tried several different things over the past decade. Some of these high-profile activities have become high-profile disasters. 

AT&T, Verizon took wrong turn acquiring news, entertainment companies

Like several years ago when AT&T acquired DirecTV and Warner Media which included CNN, Warner Brothers Studio and more. Or when Verizon acquired AOL and Prodigy. The carriers said they were going to reinvent the telecom, wireless, news and entertainment industries. 

It looked like their intention was to join all these sectors into one, new, mega-industry. Listening to what they were saying, it sounded to me like they intended on following Comcast Xfinity which acquired NBCUniversal, but to go even further.

Fast-forward, this ultimately failed. So, they went back to wireless basics with 5G coming online. 

AI has potential to fuel wireless and telecom growth to new heights

Then, suddenly there seems to be real growth potential going forward with new technologies like Artificial Intelligence. 

Not only is AI likely to transform telecom and wireless, not only impact the entire industry with networks, smartphones and technology, but to also empower every company in every industry to do the same thing and use wireless to connect everything.

This is a huge, potential growth opportunity for the wireless and telecom industry over the next decade.

As exciting as that is, wireless needs a quick hit. That’s why the wireless carriers are using new technology like FWA to deliver 5G Wireless Home Internet. They needed something to chase that would increase their earnings and keep investors happy and excited.

So far, so good for them. They are seeing growth with FWA and listening to their ongoing plans and goals, they are aiming to increase this business by millions of users.

Wireless carriers turning to FWA to show immediate growth

However, while FWA may be a good next move for the wireless industry, it is growing by taking broadband business from the cable TV and even the phone companies wired broadband services.

This is setting off a chain reaction of events.

This is cannibalization for the telephone companies, which is difficult, but not fatal. However, it could end up being much worse for the cable TV industry. 

Cable TV has been dodging these bullets for the past decade or two. Around the year 2000, cable TV hit its peak. Then new technology and new competition entered the picture, and they started losing market share.

This has been a battle ever since. They replaced cable TV with broadband as their primary service and it slowed the problems they faced. 

They have also been expanding in new areas like streaming, but they face stiff competition.

FWA wireless carrier solution is problem to cable TV broadband

Today, their two primary services, cable TV and broadband are under attack.

Broadband has been strong, but as competition and new tech enters the picture, the writing is on the wall. Cable TV needs to do something else. Something different. Something big.

Going forward, the threat for immediate growth led wireless to FWA wireless broadband. 

Could FWA be the next growth engine for cable TV? Perhaps. If it is done correctly. 

That’s why I have been recommending cable TV get into the FWA sector as well. Just like they got into the wireless space with Xfinity Mobile, Spectrum Mobile, Optimum, Cox and others.

Comcast Xfinity NOW will battle new FWA wireless broadband threat

Comcast just introduced their new first attempt to battle the FWA threat. Their new FWA service is called NOW.

I have taken an initial look at this and spoken to Comcast Xfinity, and I see both good and bad at this early stage. 

The good part for the marketplace is the price is lower than their wired broadband. That means this could help them battle the new competitive threat with customers who want to or need to save money.

There are downsides as well. 

One, is the speeds are much slower than their wired broadband.

In addition, Comcast tells me they require customers choosing NOW to cancel their cable TV service. This makes no sense.

In my opinion, it looks like Comcast may have lost their way at this early stage. 

After all, the whole idea is for their new NOW service to be a weapon to battle new competitive threats from wireless carriers. Not to create new problems for customers to wrestle with.

More than that, as the industry and its technology move ahead, once solid market share is ultimately replaced by new tech. This changes everything. This is what always happens. 

FWA is changing the economics of broadband for companies and customers

FWA is both a growth opportunity for wireless carriers and a competitive threat to cable TV wireline broadband.

Cable TV could simply launch FWA themselves and use it to battle this new competitive threat.

So far, their response is mixed. This story about FWA is just one chapter in the much longer story. There are many different technologies with more to come. 

Plus, each new service will have to be marketing tested to find the right formula.

FWA is about the new growth opportunity for wireless broadband and the new competitive threat to cable TV wire line broadband.

While I believe this new Xfinity NOW service is a good start, it will more than likely be tweaked to be effective as such.

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