AT&T: fixed wireless is a stopgap tool but fiber is the main focus

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When asked where AT&T intends to increase its fixed wireless access (FWA) buildout in response to pressures from competitors T-Mobile and Verizon, McElfresh said that the company continues to see FWA as a stopgap measure that AT&T will use in areas where it doesn’t plan to deploy fiber. “Is fixed wireless a tool to be used for a particular segment that doesn’t have access to fiber?  Yes,” COO Jeff McElfresh said.” But it is not the majority of our growth agenda.” However, he added that AT&T does plan to experiment more with FWA, and will deploy it in areas where it won’t have fiber because FWA performs better than DSL. Earlier in 2022, AT&T Executive Vice President of Technology Operations Chris Sambar said that the carrier has over 500,000 fixed wireless subscribers. “We’re no stranger to fixed wireless,” he said. McElfresh said June 23 that the company is “on pace” for its fiber build and will likely cover 3.5 million to 4 million locations with fiber in 2022. In addition, McElfresh said that AT&T’s fiber penetration rates are nearly twice what they have been historically, reaching 24 percent penetration compared to 12 percent penetration in the past.

AT&T: FWA is a stopgap tool but fiber is the main focus