Cable Providers Hope Wireless Deals Will Curb Cord-Cutting

New York-based cable provider Altice USA is planning to compete in the crowded wireless market by launching a new mobile service that offers consumers unlimited data at a $20-$30 monthly price point per phone, according to individuals familiar with the plans. Employees will test the new service, likely to be named Altice Mobile, in the coming weeks, with plans for a summer launch. The company will be joining cable rivals Charter and Comcast in offering wireless deals to subscribers. Cable providers are hoping that offering wireless service will discourage their customers from cord-cutting.

Altice Mobile “will run on Sprint’s mobile network and relies on customers’ in-home Wi-Fi and the company’s network of hot spots throughout the urban markets it serves, including New York City,” reports The Wall Street Journal. Altice “has 3.3 million TV subscribers and 4.1 million Internet customers.”

Meanwhile, leading wireless carriers such as AT&T and Verizon “are betting the advent of faster, 5G networks will enable them to offer wireless broadband inside homes that sidelines cable companies.”

Comcast launched Xfinity Mobile in 2017 and Charter introduced Spectrum Mobile last fall, both services available only for home broadband customers. Unlimited monthly data is available via both services for $45 per line, with an option to pay based on the amount of data used.

“Comcast and Charter have added cellphone customers even as the four largest wireless carriers compete for subscribers in the saturated U.S. market,” notes WSJ. “Both cable companies rent Verizon’s wireless network and typically pay based on customer usage.”

The cost is seen as necessary to keep subscribers in an evolving market. “If you’re able to save customers $800 a year on their mobile bill and you add that into their existing cable service, then I think that you’re going to have a happier customer relationship at the end of the day,” said Charter CFO Christopher Winfrey.