Why I went back to spectrum after using 5G internet at home

Over the past five years, there has been, and to some extent still is, a lot of hype about what 5G will do. Driverless cars, remote operation, metaverse – all buzzwords that have yet to materialize in any concrete way.

One area where he has significantly contributed to changing our lives? It finally provides long-awaited competition to cable companies for home broadband. I’ve been researching whether 5G and similar technologies (known as “fixed wireless”) could replace traditional home broadband over the past year, testing midrange solutions from Verizon and T-Mobile, as well as options from millimeter waves like Honest Networks.

I dropped my Spectrum subscription and even switched my apartment to Honest, which offers gigabit download and upload speeds in our apartment building for $50 a month. It was great for months and I would be happy to continue using it.

At least, until the Specter knocks again.

Competitive bidding of breeds

Spectrum’s three-month free offer was extremely compelling.

Screenshot by Eli Blumenthal/CNET

Since I left Spectrum, I received a flyer in the mail offering three months of free TV and internet if I returned. There were also no contracts or terms of engagement. The company seems to be hoping that once people sign up, they won’t leave so quickly.

As a sports enthusiast, the lure of traditional cable was certainly appealing for the rest of the NFL and college football regular seasons, the MLB playoffs, 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.

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

Plus, even after the three months were up, internet charges would still be $40 a month, a $10 monthly savings compared to T-Mobile and Honest.

I can’t say that this deal is a direct result of 5G internet options joining the fray and adding to the competition. Also not sure if Spectrum offers this everywhere or only in certain markets like New York, but it seems like a newer option.

“We have regular nationally consistent pricing and user-friendly policies such as no modem fees, data caps or contracts,” a Spectrum spokesperson said in a statement. “We often run promotions for new or upgrading customers to give them a chance to try a discounted service or package for a limited period of time before the regular price comes into effect.”

These offers are not always reserved for new subscribers. The old trick of calling your provider and threatening to switch to T-Mobile or Verizon, which I noticed while helping a friend with his Optimum bill in New Jersey, helped lower his bill by $40 a month before he did not adjust anything in his account. the service.

Cable companies seem concerned, and perhaps rightly so. Verizon saw earnings consumers are fleeing its traditional wireless phone business among the highest prices, but the company added 234,000 fixed wireless consumer users.

T-Mobile added 578,000 home Internet users in the last quarter and now has over 2.1 million subscribers.

Comcast, the largest cable operator in the United States, seems particularly concerned and started this month distribution of TV ads against T-Mobile’s home internetencouraging users go to their website where it “compares” the two broadband options. A number of cable companies, including Comcast, Optimum and Spectrum, also offer home internet packages with their mobile services.

“I think you’re going to see (cable companies) getting more aggressive with promotions and working to increase speed to try to counter the momentum that telcos are getting.” Bob O’Donnell, Technical Research Analyst said.

“Given how quickly (home Internet) subscribers have grown for T-Mobile and Verizon, consumers have clearly realized this and seem eager to move away from cable companies,” he said.

Even faster speeds are coming

Fiber optic cable bundle with ring on black background

Fiber optic cable bundle with ring on black background.

Getty Images

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

“Fixing wireless in 5G makes it essential for cable companies to upgrade their infrastructure to be able to consistently claim high speeds, especially in downloads where wireless can struggle today,” said analyst Avi Greengart for research firm Techsponential.

A wide variety of other providers, including Optimum, Spectrum, Verizon and AT&T, have added new tiers of multi-gigabit speeds and expanded their fiber service deployments, while the top three wireless providers continue to develop and improve 5G service. This push for faster options should not only keep the possibility of better speeds for those looking for a boost, but also better choices for their needs.

“People who continue to work from home or just want the fastest option will turn to fiber,” says O’Donnell. “Common users now have multiple choices and people who had limited options (rural, etc.) can finally get something reasonable.”

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