T-Mobile expands LTE broadband to rural areas 'abandoned' by AT&T

It says it'll open the offer to new customers as a 'lifeline.'

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Daniel Cooper
October 9, 2020 5:22 AM
NEW YORK, NEW YORK - AUGUST 18: A clerk at the T-Mobile store in Times Square provides curb side service during the fourth phase of the coronavirus reopening on August 18, 2020 in New York, New York. The fourth phase allows outdoor arts and entertainment, sporting events without fans and media production. (Photo by Roy Rochlin/Getty Images)
Roy Rochlin via Getty Images

Parts of the US that lack good broadband infrastructure are being handed a lifeline by T-Mobile after being cast adrift by AT&T. T-Mobile is offering home LTE broadband to 450 areas that it says that AT&T is “deserting,” and opening the service to non-T-Mobile customers as well. It says that it is providing a salve for the households that are “sick and tired of their internet access provider jerking them around.”

At the start of October, AT&T opted to stop selling new DSL services, although existing subscribers could continue to enjoy connectivity. This does, however, mean that people moving to rural areas that only has copper-cable capacity will be starved of the ability to sign up to the slow, but reliable, standard. According to a third-party analyst quoted by USA Today, AT&T had around a million DSL customers. 

T-Mobile’s deal costs $50 a month, with no hardware fees, no install costs and no two-year minimum commitment. Since installation essentially involves plugging in a router, there’s also no need for a callout, which the company says is a benefit these days. This isn’t the first time that the offer has been made to non-T-Mobile customers, after a test to serve under-connected regions in Western Michigan

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The move to push slow wireline customers over to LTE internet is one that’ll increase as more companies lean onto their 5G networks. Verizon, for instance, has now rolled out LTE Home to 189 markets across 48 states for $40 a month, if they’re already a customer. 

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