September 20, 2018
While AT&T, T-Mobile and Verizon are preparing to roll out their 5G wireless services, Charter has plans to introduce fast wired broadband with an option of offering its own 5G wireless service. However, deployment of the wired service is expected to take some time. Charter chief executive Tom Rutledge shared the company’s plans on CNBC after appearing at the Goldman Sachs Communacopia Brokers Conference. His remarks expand on chief financial officer Chris Winfrey’s earlier statement that his company’s wired service can outperform 5G.
VentureBeat reports, “Rutledge expects that the company will roll out 10 gigabit per second (Gbps) symmetrical wired Internet service” to compete with 5G. This service “would deliver 10 times the initially promised speed of 5G wireless services.” But Charter customers can’t expect 10Gbps Internet any time soon, since Rutledge believes wide deployment won’t take place for 10 years.
“By 2028, 5G will certainly be faster than it is in 2018,” notes VB, which adds that, “early 5G chips are already promising up to 6Gbps speeds if the network supports them.”
Charter, the nation’s No. 2 cable operator, has been testing 5G service in six cities, “and is looking at the prospect of offering 5G service.” In his remarks on CNBC, Rutledge added that, “Charter is in a better position to deliver 5G than cellular carriers because the high-speed wireless service will depend on a national fiber network, like the one Charter already has in place.”
He defines 5G as “small wireless cells connected to wired lines,” and noted that “developing a sufficient cable infrastructure alone is highly capital intensive.” Charter’s cabling covers 8 percent of the total U.S. market, whereas Verizon has forecast that it will hit 20 percent of the market (30 million of the U.S.’s 140 million homes) in 10 years.
AT&T, T-Mobile and Verizon have been installing small cells required to deliver 5G, to launch in 2018; whether Charter chooses to upgrade its wired infrastructure or move to wireless equipment remains to be seen.