AT&T said that unlike Telefónica’s recently launched fixed-wireless service, its home broadband plans will be available throughout Mexico via a mobile network that currently covers 236 cities and 100 million people. The operator added that subscribers to the service will be sent a Huawei modem costing MXN 1,200.00 (US $66.50), which will be payable over 30 months, plus a SIM card for easy installation.
Fixed broadband arrangements are useful in markets where large rural expanses and lack of wireline infrastructure make it difficult or impossible for cable to be deployed in many areas. In such environments, such as Mexico, delivering broadband to homes via mobile networks is often the best solution.
U.S. telecom giant AT&T, having expanded into Mexico recently, has been aggressive in coming up with competitive strategies, such as creating a cross-border telecommunications zone effectively uniting the U.S. and Mexico. In competing with its rivals in the Mexico, it has the advantage of deep pockets. In this case, AT&T has already acquired network assets of such size that it is able to offer this fixed mobile solution across most of the country. Telefónica and America Móvil, on the other hand, are offering fixed mobile only in limited areas. This places AT&T in a very strong position when it comes to subscriber acquisition.
The disadvantage of fixed wireless is the signal quality; 5 to 10 Mbps is much slower than is to be expected from conventional cable broadband. And although the plans are advertised as unlimited, with the throttling the speed is reduced to a quite unattractive 2 Mbps, which would make certain functionalities unusable. Nonetheless, for many rural users there may be no alternative.
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