AT&T’s new fixed wireless plans may not make sense to you, but they will… in the future. The company announced that they are operating trials of fixed wireless service to parts of Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississipi, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Tennessee. For rural communities, this service is really awesome.
For $50 per month (bundle pricing) you can get DIRECTV satellite, plus 10Mbps internet with a 160GB cap. The internet service comes from an LTE connection that’s permanently connected to the house, that’s what they mean by “fixed wireless.” It’s essentially the same as using your phone to tether but you get better and more reliable internet even if the cell towers are further away. This is due to the use of a larger antenna that is placed on your roof, similar a cellular booster setup.
10Mbps may sound like nothing to you, but for these communities that have been relying on DSL or satellite internet, this is great speed and it gives them the ability to do streaming video easily, something most of us take for granted.
The real reason this is important, though, is because fixed wireless installations are expected to become much more common in the next two years as AT&T rolls out 5G, the new technology that will give speeds as fast as fiber without any wires at all. 5G is expected to be a real game-changer not only for rural communities but for everyone. It will bring real choice to areas that rely on cable companies for internet, and will give AT&T customers the opportunity for really awesome bundle pricing on internet, phone, and television that are expected to blow away today’s triple play deals.
When 5G fixed wireless launches, AT&T is expected to be the leader, because they’re the only company with both a national cellular network and a streaming television service, two things that really seem like they would complement each other.