Comcast and Charter are bracing for what will be an immediately competitive fixed 5G market in Indianapolis, with AT&T joining rival Verizon in announcing that the city will be among its initial deployment spots for the technology starting later this year.
According to a recent S&P Global Market Intelligence report, Comcast has around 362,000 broadband customers in the Indianapolis region, while Charter has about 132,000
In its announcement Thursday, AT&T said it has invested nearly $425 million in Indianapolis area wireless and wired networks during 2015-2017, making what it said were 525 wireless network upgrades.
Last year, AT&T also made Indy one of its 5G Evolution markets, in which it deploys technologies that enable peak theoretical wireless speeds of at least 400 Mbps. Indianapolis was also one of the first cities to see deployment of LTE-LAA, which is capable of peak theatrical speed of 1 Gbps.
"Whether you're a retailer, car wash owner, hospital, manufacturer, public safety entity or a bank, we expect 5G will eventually change the customer experience and provide new economic opportunities for your business,” said Bill Soards, president of AT&T’s Indiana operation, in a statement. “It was a natural choice for AT&T to name Indy as one of the twelve introductory 5G cities.”
In early August, Verizon announced that Indianapolis would join Los Angeles, Houston and Sacramento/Stockton in its initial 5G rollout later this year. AT&T has previously said it would start deploying fixed 5G services in Atlanta, Charlotte, Dallas, Oklahoma City, Raleigh, N.C. and Waco, Texas.
Telecom investment analysts are concerned for the cable industry.
“Going forward, we continue to believe cable MSOs will be seen as home connectivity companies in which video will simply ride as an app (of many apps) to the home. To that point, we see 5G fixed wireless broadband as the biggest existential threat to broadband providers (by far),” equity research firm Cowen told investors in a telecom-focused report last week.