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AT&T will move customers from DSL to new wireless product

The product will target customers who live or work in areas where AT&T will not offer fiber-based services.

The product will target customers who live or work in areas where AT&T will not offer fiber-based services.

The logo of telecom AT&T is seen on a building in Chicago.
The logo of telecom AT&T is seen on a building in Chicago. (Photo via Wikimedia Commons, Graphic by The Desk)

AT&T is working on a new fixed wireless Internet product that is intended to help move customers off its older, copper-based services.

The product is expected to run on AT&T’s fourth- and fifth-generation (4G LTE and 5G) wireless network, and will likely be similar to wireless home Internet products launched by competitors T-Mobile and Verizon over the last two years.

At a media event on Wednesday, AT&T executives said the forthcoming fixed wireless Internet service will target customers who use copper-based solutions like DSL, dial-up and landline phone products, and who are in areas where AT&T does not intend to lay fiber lines or offer fiber-based services.

Chris Sambar, an AT&T executive in charge of the company’s

Jenifer Robertson, AT&T’s general manager of mass markets, said the company expects its fixed wireless service “to be competitive,” but declined to provide any additional details.

Last year, Robertson told the Wall Street Journal that AT&T has around 15 million customers who are using older, non-fiber technology for Internet and other services. She would not say how many of those customers would be transitioned to fiber-based services and how many will be left to use products running on AT&T’s wireless network.

While the company is preparing a fixed wireless Internet, some executives say it won’t be a big part of AT&T’s business over the long term. Instead, AT&T believes growth and sustained revenue will come from its mobile phone customers who have wireless phone and data plans.

“Mobile bits are going to be higher-value bits; they’re going to be engineered differently,” AT&T CEO John Stankey said on Wednesday. “They should sell at a premium because of the supply and demand dynamics on it, and I want to ensure that my mobile network is, in fact, delivering that premium solution on those mobile bets when they need to be provided.”