Rocket Launching

Astound Mobile Launching On T-Mobile’s Network

Update: Some more complete info about plans and pricing is available on Astound’s website.

Internet service provider Astound Broadband announced it will launch an MVNO running over T-Mobile’s network. Astound Mobile will heavily rely on infrastructure from Reach.

Like the other carriers operated by cable companies, Astound Mobile will limit its offerings to the company’s internet customers. Rollout of the new service across Astound’s customer base will be gradual:

The service will be exclusively available to Astound home internet customers who are eligible residents in Massachusetts and Corpus Christi, Midland-Odessa, Temple, and Waco Texas in June. The company plans to continue to launch Astound Mobile in its remaining markets by the end of the year.

Today’s announcement was fairly vague about Astound Mobile’s offerings:

Astound will offer two ‘pay by the gig’ plans and two unlimited talk and text plans. Customers can choose a plan whereby they only pay for the data they need or they can expand to an unlimited plan with data allotted to each user.

Poking around Astound’s website, especially in legal details and disclaimers, I found a few hints about plans for Astound Mobile. I also found a few contradictions, so all this should be treated with a grain of salt.

Astound Mobile’s Plans

One disclaimer gives clues about the data allotments on the four plans:

After monthly threshold is reached, 1.5GB & 3GB plans data will be capped; Unlimited & Unlimited Plus, speeds reduced to 768 Kbps.

Since it’s possible to reach a threshold on the unlimited plans, I expect Astound will follow the industry norm of labeling some plans “unlimited” in a somewhat bogus fashion. To Astound’s credit, 768Kbps speeds are far more usable than the 128 – 256Kbps throttles often seen on other MVNOs’ “unlimited” plans.

On another page, I found a somewhat different description of Astound’s plans:

The 20 Gigabyte plan offers high-definition (‘HD’) streaming; the 1 Gigabyte and 3 Gigabyte plan offer solely non-HD streaming.
Combining these two disclosures, I presume the threshold after which Astound throttles speeds is 20GB on one or both of the unlimited plans. I’m unsure what to make of the discrepancy around the size of the plan with the smallest data allotment. Will turn out to be 1GB or 1.5GB?


On one page of legal details, Astound emphasizes this text:

Astound Mobile does not provide Mobile Devices – Customers must bring their own Mobile Devices to use Astound Mobile Services.

However, “Device financing (through third party)” is listed as a feature in an FAQ item on Astound Mobile’s web page about coverage.

Other Details

Astound’s website gives a few more details, though I wouldn’t treat any of this information with confidence:

  • International roaming outside of the US, Puerto Rico, and the US Virgin Islands appears unavailable.
  • WiFi calling is listed as a feature on the coverage page.
  • A legal document explains that only Astound Broadband Internet customers are eligible to sign up for mobile services, but subscribers are not “required to maintain the Astound Broadband Internet plan to continue Astound Mobile Services”.
Abstract image representing the internet

Fixed Wireless Availability – Accuracy Issues

Earlier today, I tried to order Verizon’s 5G Home Internet. According to Verizon’s website, my address was eligible for service.

A few minutes after placing my order, I received an email explaining that my order couldn’t be completed. Here’s an excerpt:

Dear Valued Customer,

Thank you for choosing Verizon. We were unable to complete the order you recently submitted.

We are sorry, but after further review, it was determined that we are unable to provide home internet service at your address at this time. Prior to qualifying service for any specific location, Verizon evaluates a number of factors to ensure we can provide new and existing customers the best possible experience.

The availability of home internet products may change in the future so we encourage you to stay updated on your eligibility status by visiting . You can click the “check availability” button and sign up for alerts to stay in the know on when eligibility in your area may change.

According to the FCC’s Broadband Map, my address is eligible. According to the initial screening system on Verizon’s website, my address is eligible. Yet Verizon has some secondary system that quickly and automatically rejected my address. I’m unsure why these different systems are out of sync.

The bit about staying updated on eligibility via isn’t helpful. The info on that page was wrong. That’s why I got far enough to get my rejection email.

Fixed Wireless Availability Conundrums

With fixed wireless services like Verizon 5G Home, network congestion needs to be carefully managed. Perhaps Verizon is regularly tweaking the availability of 5G Home Internet based on how much spare capacity the network has in different areas. While tweaking of that sort wouldn’t explain why one of Verizon’s systems clears my address while another rejects the address, it could explain the mismatch with the FCC’s data.

With the FCC only collecting availability data twice per year, recent changes in availability may not be captured. I’m not sure that explains my experience, but it’s a meaningful limitation of the FCC’s Broadband Data Collection, regardless.

It may be rare for a cable internet provider to suddenly decide a region is oversubscribed and reject new subscribers. However, that kind of behavior will be more common for internet providers using technologies that aren’t resilient in the face of congestion (e.g., fixed wireless and satellite). With fixed wireless and satellite internet gaining market share, this problem will become more relevant.