T-Mobile exploring deploying in-home internet service in Puerto Rico
Wireless carrier T-Mobile is looking into taking cable providers head-on in Puerto Rico, with plans to deploy in-home broadband service, which it has already rolled out in several US markets.
During a news conference, T-Mobile Puerto Rico General Manager Jorge Martel said the island has a “great need for this type of service.”
“Puerto Rico is a market with few competitors. Generally speaking, cable television providers are the ones who provide internet connections to the home, and they have the lowest service quality metrics in the US as a whole,” he said.
“It’s that type of thing that we plan to eliminate. However, at T-Mobile we need to be sure that we have the network capacity in place because when we decide to provide internet to the home, we believe we’re going to have great demand for it,” he said.
“Our plan is to deploy a simple product that’s easy to use and that provides that fast connectivity. We want to make sure that our network not only handles the demand, but that it’s superior to what’s out there,” Martel said, holding back on giving a specific roll-out date, mentioning only that it will be “soon.”
In March 2019, T-Mobile rolled out a limited, invitation-only home internet pilot program stateside, laying the foundation “to disrupt the home broadband market,” it stated. The carrier began with the goal of reaching 50,000 households that year, with plans to cover more than half of US zip codes by 2024 with the capacity for 9.5 million households.
In November 2020, it expanded its $50/month Home Internet pilot service to more than 130 additional cities and towns across nine states, namely Michigan, Minnesota, New York, North Dakota, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, West Virginia and Wisconsin.
The service currently available stateside offers: self-installation; taxes and fees included; no annual service contracts; no maddning “introductory” price offers; no hardware rental, sign-up fee or installation costs; no data caps; and customer support.
Martel said the carrier will not use any federal funding granted under the Federal Communications Commission’s Uniendo a Puerto Rico Fund, which was set up in the wake of Hurricane María to assist telecom providers in expanding and improving broadband services across the island.
Last year, T-Mobile Puerto Rico rolled out its Project 10Million initiative aimed at delivering internet connectivity to thousands of public school students on the island, at no cost to them.
Puerto Rico is the market that had the most participation in the Project 10 Million initiative, which denotes the island’s unquestioned need for enhanced fixed broadband services, he said.
“We’re working on several projects that we’ll soon share, given that we’re taking the 5G network to other levels — education, business, certain industries — that allows them to do many things for which they formerly needed to depend on fixed infrastructure, which will now be possible on wireless,” he said.