The Wireless FiOS Home Internet Bait and Switch — Deceptive Advertised Speeds & Wireless Unreliability.
The chart above shows the average speeds for the fiber optic and wireless versions of Verizon’s 300/300 Mbps FiOS Home Internet services, based on Verizon’s own network performance data. We will come back to this in a moment.
The chart below shows the pricing of what Verizon calls “FiOS Home Internet,” from the Verizon website, (July 27, 2023). The $24.99/month plan advertises speeds of 300 Mbps download and 300 Mbps upload. The fine print conditions this price on the customer buying a second, hidden 5G wireless service, which is not mentioned in the advertisements, which can add an additional $70-$90 a month. The $25 price can never be obtained without this added service, or the alternative — the price goes to $50.00 if the customer doesn’t have the mobile 5G service.
But, this $24.99 offer is not the wired fiber optic FiOS service, which has been around for decades, but a wireless impostor. The company is deceptively passing off an inferior wireless service as FiOS. It is attaching the FiOS label to a “fixed wireless antenna” service, “FWA”. And, unlike “mobile” wireless, where you take your cell phone with you, the term ‘fixed’ means that service remains in the one location.
The rest of this story will examine how the FWA product is a seriously flawed product when it comes to the basics. FiOS is a wired, fiber optic service to the home that can deliver high speeds in both directions, known as “symmetrical” service, while the information on the Verizon site indicates that the FWA 5G products are “asymmetrical” meaning that the upload speed is a fraction of the download speed.
This also brings up the question — Are the advertisements and this wireless FiOS service deceptive?
Since 2004, Verizon announced and started to offer, in select areas, a wireline fiber optic to the home (“FTTH” or fiber to the premises, “FTTP”) service that offers broadband-internet, cable TV, and phone service, which has been sold under the brand name “FiOS”.
Techterm gives this definition of FiOS:
“FiOS stands for ‘Fiber Optic Service.’ Fios is a telecommunications network owned by Verizon that uses fiber optic cables to transfer data. It is considered a ‘Fiber to the Premises,’ or ‘FTTP’ service, since it brings fiber optic data transmission to residential homes as well as businesses”.
Around 2010 Verizon announced it was ending its deployment of fiber to the home with few exceptions. And unknown to most, Verizon then started to use the existing state telecommunications public utility construction budgets that had been allocated to fund the replacement of the copper wires with fiber optics, to build out their 3G and 4G wireless mobile networks, with the kicker — wired phone customers had rate increases for the fiber to the home build outs in New York and other states, and they were not halted when this diversion of the construction funds to wireless occurred.
Verizon’s FWA Wireless FiOS Bait and Switch
Over the last 2+ years, Verizon started to offer fixed wireless and it is now appropriating the FiOS name in its marketing and not even mentioning these are based on wireless, not a wired broadband service.
In one commercial, Verizon encourages you to cut the cable, and lower your bill to only $25 a month. And it never mentions a host of caveats, such as this is not really FiOS wireline service but a wireless service.
As we discussed in a previous analysis using another Verizon advertisement, a) they claim that these wireless services are “100% fiber optic networks”, — which is impossible since there is a wireless antenna in the home and the signal travels through the air wirelessly, and it can be 500–2000 feet or more before being picked up by a wireless cell site. The only fiber optic wires involved are those that connect Verizon’s cell sites and switching centers. Moreover, in order to get the $25 price, the customer must purchase a 5G mobile wireless smartphone service — adding $70–90 a month or pay $50.00 with autopay.
But, going back to the advertised prices of the Verizon FiOS Home Internet service, we see that there is a basic service with 300 Mbps download and 300 Mbps upload, for $24.99. (Note that the advertisements, however, use $25.00 even.)
Let’s compare the fiber optic wired FiOS service with the speed of the FWA wireless FiOS service.
The following charts and information are taken directly from Verizon’s “Network Performance”
This chart supplies the Verizon tested speeds for their original wireline FiOS fiber optic service and the speeds match the advertised speeds. And notice that the speeds are ‘symmetrical’, meaning that they have the same speed in both directions.
Verizon FWA and wireless FiOS, and other services.
Below is a Verizon chart for the wireless service speeds, and it lists a lot of different wireless internet services. None of the names match the FiOS Home Internet directly as a fixed wireless service, but all of these speeds are not even close to being symmetrical. There is no reason to believe that FiOS Home Internet is a symmetrical service, like the speeds of the fiber optic FiOS in the previous chart, which are symmetrical.
Verizon’s wireless broadband products show a massive problem with “upstream” speeds. This chart was taken directly from Verizon’s website and it shows a range of speed and capacity for different services.
The various 5G Home Internet services Verizon lists have a download speed range of 85–300 Mbps. The upload speeds range from 10–20 Mbps, only a small fraction of the download speeds. We can only assume that these speeds are representative of the speeds customers get for their $25.
This is seriously problematic as the advertisement promises 300/300 Mbps speeds — with no caveats.
Verizon admits that their 5G Home Internet service can have variable performance.
“5G Home Internet plans vary depending on address/location, equipment, and network connection. All plans include 5G/4G LTE backup with download speeds up to 70 Mbps (Depending on location, some customers may receive LTE Home with download speeds of 25–50 Mbps and upload speeds of 4–5 Mbps.)”
But, there are no warnings or indications that Verizon’s wireless FWA has severe handicaps to offering a ‘symmetrical service’. Again, Verizon’s chart displays symmetrical speed performance for the true, wired FiOS fiber optic internet service it provides.
Verizon’s advertisements claim that its FWA service is symmetrical is seriously suspect, as all of the 5G wireless services it lists in the chart are lop-sided and the gaps are so large that the claims of symmetry are likely deceptive.
When we compared the download speed average with the upload speed average, the upload speed averaged only 12% of the download speed. — i.e., if the range of the download speed was 100 Mbps to 300 Mbps, then the average would be 200 Mbps.
This chart shows that the upload speeds are only 12% of the download speeds.
Consumers beware. Using Verizon’s own data, it strongly appears that the so called FiOS Home Internet is an inferior 5G wireless product that will not deliver the promised speeds. Do not fall for this bait-an-switch. This is a shoddy attempt by Verizon to create an all wireless future to lower its labor costs and increase its profitability. It is commonly understood in the industry that wireline fiber optic service is far more reliable than a wireless substitute for internet access.
During the closing of this story, we clicked on a box that had print that was too small to read, but when we blew it up, we were surprised by the words -_”Wired Speeds (as) Advertised. Wireless speeds may vary….” I.e., the company knows that the wireless FiOS speeds can not compete with a fiber optic wired FiOS line. Moreover, this box also explains that the ‘FiOS 300 Mbps plan’ also requires a second service — ‘5G Ultra Wideband’, as well.
There are a host of other issues that come up with this attempt to make wireless appear to be the same as a fiber optic line to the home, which we will be covering in future articles.