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Traditional Big ISPs Stagnate

In the first quarter of this year, the big cable companies added 482,000 customers, while telcos added over 50,000 customers. In what is a surprise to the industry, that growth has disappeared, and all of the big ISPs collectively lost almost 150,000 customers. That’s a loss of 60,000 customers for the cable companies and 88,000 for the big telcos.

The following statistics have been compiled by the Leichtman Research Group, which tracks the broadband performance of the largest ISPs in the country.

The other big news is that the Fixed Wireless Access (FWA) products of T-Mobile and Verizon added 816,000 customers in the second quarter to bring the sector to net growth of 668,000 customers. This is huge news—FWA is booming while the big ISPs are standing still. The FWA product is home broadband delivered using cellular frequencies. T-Mobile and Verizon are aggressively marketing the product, which is touted to have download speeds over 100 Mbps. The market is going to get even hotter when AT&T and Dish networks enter the market in a big way.

The numbers for the second quarter of 2022:

2Q 20222Q Change% Change
Comcast32,163,00000.0%
Charter30,253,000(21,000)-0.1%
AT&T15,509,000(24,000)-0.2%
Verizon7,412,00012,0000.2%
Cox5,560,00000.0%
Lumen4,377,000(93,000)-2.1%
Altice4,333,600(39,600)-0.9%
Frontier2,827,0008,0000.3%
T-Mobile FWA1,544,000560,00056.9%
Mediacom1,468,00000.0%
Windstream1,178,5002,5000.2%
Cable ONE1,059,0002,0000.2%
Breezeline717,919(1,689)-0.2%
Verizon FWA700,000256,00057.7%
TDS500,8005,6001.1%
Consolidated381,2131,063-0.2%
Total109,984,032667,8740.3%
    
Total Cable75,554,519(60,289)-0.1%
Total Telco32,185,513(87,837)-0.3%
FWA2,244,000816,00057.1%

There is a lot to unpack in these numbers:

  • The cable companies have gained customers every quarter for far longer than a decade, so this net loss for the sector is a big surprise.
  • There is another story underneath the big telco losses—fiber is doing well. AT&T added 316,000 fiber customers in the quarter but still had a small net customer loss. Frontier added 54,000 fiber customers for the quarter and had a small net customer gain. Verizon added 36,000 FiOS customers in the quarter. Lumen added 28,000 fiber customers for the quarter but continued to bleed DSL customers.
  • T-Mobile leaped to become the ninth largest ISP in the country.
  • TDS repeated as the fastest growing traditional ISP.
  • Lumen lost the largest percentage of customers compared to other telcos. Altice was the biggest percentage loser among cable companies.

By Doug Dawson, President at CCG Consulting

Dawson has worked in the telecom industry since 1978 and has both a consulting and operational background. He and CCG specialize in helping clients launch new broadband markets, develop new products, and finance new ventures.

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