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“AT&T Internet Air” aims to alleviate dated wireline infrastructure

AT&T has begun their foray into the wireless home internet space with AT&T Internet Air. The offering is a single $55 plan, and AT&T is looking to potentially make this a mutually beneficial product for them and a select customer base. Based on information obtained by The Mobile Report, AT&T’s select markets that Internet Air have launched mostly align with rural and DSL markets where AT&T has dated copper wireline infrastructure. AT&T has not been offering new DSL service since 2020, so this is a response to maintain that demand where it still applies. The lines used to distribute the service are likely costly to maintain and repair. AT&T is looking to the future in an alternative rather than a massive, costly upgrade.

AT&T has loaded the product with attractive perks

There are clear benefits to make the offer an attractive one. AT&T is ensuring this is a smooth transition for an eligible customer. As mentioned above, there is no plan comparisons or tiered pricing. It is a single, fixed rate not bound by a contract and will not spike with overages. Second, equipment is not only included, but existing DSL equipment a customer might have is not required to be returned. Finally, that included AT&T All-fi hub comes with AT&T Active Armor, should you maintain your AT&T Internet Air product through a smartphone app. It checks for suspicious behaviors on devices in the home, and blocks malicious content and sites that can potentially harm your devices too.

When it comes to existing customers, anyone on AT&T DSL should consider making the switch if they are eligible. Price-wise, AT&T Internet Air will likely be a similar bargain for those still on DSL today. Customers will even be able to try it for 7 days, risk free, with their existing DSL connections still active before “cutting the cord”. Without a commitment, customers are effectively in control of their relationship with the product, and are able to cancel any time.

The largest difference customers can expect, however, is speed. AT&T’s grandfathered DSL service would maximize speeds up to 6mbps download/512kbps upload. AT&T Internet Air speeds are advertised at 40-140mbps download and 5 to 25mbps upload. That is a sizable 6+ times improvement for download and 10 times improvement for upload. However, like all wireless-based internet service, AT&T Internet Air still carries the caveat of speed and reliability being largely based on tower congestion, available bands, and router placement. Still, at a minimum, the improvements are substantial.

Some details to consider with AT&T Internet Air

There are a couple of drawbacks to be aware of. DSL was an outdated and aging product, likely used by a demographic that isn’t quite as reliant on technology. The requirement of the AT&T Home Smart Hub app to manage the device might cause confusion for some customers. Paperless billing and autopay are requirements too, meaning customers are required to use the online portal to maintain their account. AT&T wants to minimize certain overhead costs like paper mail and calls to their care departments for service and billing.

AT&T promotes simple plug & play setup with the All-fi hub

The other consideration is the footprint for launch. AT&T is limiting who can get AT&T Internet Air on day one, and Verizon has already made deliberate statements to put it down. T-Mobile, who has not been in the home internet game at all until the last few years, is tapping into a brand new market and competing to the tune of nearly 3 million subscribers total as of their form 10-Q in March. Not only that, they are also aggressively improving the hardware the service uses to remain competitive.

While this is a clear win for their DSL base, can AT&T support the product properly and expand its footprint, while not stepping on its own toes in fiber markets? What is the long-term plan for AT&T Internet Air? Can their network, which has variable ranks in network quality performance, handle the potential demand of going nationwide?

What are your thoughts on AT&T Internet Air? Should it be offered in more areas? Can AT&T sustain network integrity offering it in more areas? Leave a comment with your thoughts!

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