I gave up my 5G home internet to go back to spectrum. Here’s Why

There has been a lot of hype around 5G over the past six years, and to some extent it still exists today. Driverless cars, remote operation, metaverse — all words that have not yet been realized in any real way.

One area where it has significantly helped change our lives? It finally provides some long-overdue competition for cable companies home broadband. I’ve researched whether 5G and similar technologies (known as “fixed wireless”) could replace traditional home broadband over the past year, testing midband solutions from Verizon and T-Mobile, as well as millimeter wave options like Honest Networks. .

I canceled my Spectrum subscription and even switched my apartment to Honest, which provides gigabit upload and download speeds to our building for $50 a month. It’s been great for months and I’d be happy to continue using it.

At least, until the Spectrum gets beat.

Competition breeds deals

Spectrum’s three-month free contract was quite attractive.

Screenshot by Eli Blumenthal/CNET

After opting out of Spectrum, I received a brochure offering three months of free TV and internet if I returned. No contract or commitment lines are attached either. The company apparently hopes that once people sign up, they won’t leave so quickly again.

As an avid sports fan, the appeal of traditional cable was certainly enticing for the rest of the NFL and college football regular seasons, the MLB postseason, and the start of the NBA and NHL campaigns. Getting and managing regional sports networks in New York is a hassle, and the only streaming service that offers them all (DirecTV Stream) costs $90 a month for the Choice package.

While my Internet speeds aren’t quite as fast as the gigabit that Honest promises, Spectrum’s Internet Ultra offers download speeds of “up to 500Mbps,” which is more than enough for all my work, video chats, streaming, and gaming for me and my roommates.

Plus, even after the three months are up, the internet bill will save you $40 a month, $10 a month, compared to T-Mobile and Honest.

I can’t say that this deal is a direct result of the addition of 5G internet options and additional competition. I also don’t know if Spectrum offers this everywhere or just in some markets like New York City, but it seems to be a newer option.

“We have nationally consistent regular pricing and customer-friendly policies such as modem fees, data caps or contracts,” a Spectrum spokesperson said in a statement. “We often offer promotions to give new or upgrading customers a chance to sample a service or package at a discount for a limited time before the regular price takes effect.”

These deals aren’t always just for new subscribers. The old trick of calling your provider and threatening to switch to T-Mobile or Verizon, I noticed when I was helping a friend in New Jersey with their Optimum bill, helped reduce their bill by $40 a month before they made any adjustments to their service.

The cable companies seem concerned, and perhaps rightly so. He saw Verizon’s earnings consumers are fleeing the traditional wireless phone business amid higher prices, however, the carrier added 234,000 consumer “fixed wireless” users.

T-Mobile It added 578,000 home Internet users in the most recent quarter and currently has over 2.1 million subscribers.

Comcast, the largest U.S. cable operator, seems particularly concerned, and earlier this month began airing TV ads against T-Mobile’s Home Internet, encouraging users to go to a website where it “compares” the two broadband options. A number of cable companies also offer home internet packages, including Comcast, Optimum and Spectrum. own mobile services.

“I think you’re going to see (cable companies) get more aggressive with promotions and try to pick up the pace to counter the momentum that the telcos are getting,” says Technalysis Research analyst Bob O’Donnell.

“Given how quickly (home internet) subscribers are growing for both T-Mobile and Verizon, consumers are clearly getting it and want to move away from cable companies,” he says.

Faster speeds are also coming

Bundle of looped fiber optic cables on black background

Getty Images

Beyond price and deals, the rise of 5G broadband home networking has also coincided with cable companies’ renewed push for speed. Comcast’s main point against T-Mobile is that it has more gigabit offerings, and its broadband network can be up to 36 times faster than T-Mobile’s 5G home internet.

“Fixed wireless over 5G will make it imperative for cable companies to upgrade their infrastructure to be able to demand consistently high speeds, especially at downloads where wireless can struggle today,” said Avi Gringart, an analyst at research firm Techsponential.

A wide range of other providers, including Optimum, Spectrum, Verizon and AT&T, have added new multigigabit speed tiers and expanded their infrastructure for fiber service, while the three major wireless providers continue to develop and improve 5G service. This push for faster options should allow not only the prospect of better speeds for those looking for a boost, but also better options for their needs.

“People who continue to work at home or just want the fastest option will look at fiber,” says O’Donnell. “Basic users now have a lot of options, and people with limited options (rural, etc.) can now finally get something reasonable.”

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