Comcast (CMCSA) and Verizon Communications (VZ) will face a new rival in residential broadband services — startup Starry Wireless — at least in one major market before year-end, according to one brokerage.
Aside from Comcast and Verizon, privately held Starry Wireless’ rollout of its own fixed-wireless broadband in Boston could eventually spell trouble for cable firm Charter Communications (CHTR) and AT&T (T) if it is able to expand to other cities, says Oppenheimer analyst Tim Horan.
The big question is whether Verizon and AT&T, which are developing next-generation “5G” fixed-wireless services, will offer consumers a better deal than Starry Wireless. Starry Wireless plans to offer unlimited data at 200-megabit-per-second broadband speeds for $50 monthly through an alternative to 5G that uses a variety of other technologies.
Starry More Economical
“Starry’s roadmap is much more economical than 5G fixed wireless,” Horan said in a note to clients. He noted its capital spending costs are expected to be 1/20th that of 5G, at $20 per home passed vs. 5G’s $400.
He also said that “speeds are comparable without the expense/complexity that accompany the deployment of thousands of 5G small cells.”
Chipmaker Marvell Technology Group (MRVL) has been working with Starry Wireless. The company also is targeting parts of Los Angeles and Washington, D.C. If all goes well in early markets, the company plans to expand to other large U.S. markets.
“Management has focused on avoiding a bad capital structure by leveraging unlicensed spectrum instead of costly licensed spectrum,” added Horan. Starry utilizes and “lightly licensed 37-GHz spectrum,” he said.
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