Magna Charter

Cable Operator Spreads Its Wings into Wireless

On 30 June, US cable operator Charter Communications officially announced its mobile service. In line with its other Spectrum-branded products, its wireless service is called Spectrum Mobile. Similar to Comcast with its Xfinity Mobile product, Charter is making its latest offering available only to existing and new subscribers to its Spectrum Internet service.

Charter is charging $45 per month for each mobile line of unlimited data. It also offers a By the Gig plan at a cost of $14 per GB of LTE data.

The launch of the service is in no way a surprise. Charter made its intentions in the mobile space clear shortly after acquiring Time Warner Cable and Bright House Networks in 2016 — companies that, along with Comcast, owned wireless spectrum through a consortium called SpectrumCo.

Those cable providers saw the need to enter the wireless business more than a decade ago, partnering to buy spectrum in an auction by the Federal Communications Commission. That spectrum was never directly used by the companies and was sold to Verizon in 2012 with the stipulation that Bright House Networks, Comcast and Time Warner Cable could resell Verizon wireless services under their own brands. Charter inherited this agreement when it acquired Bright House Networks and Time Warner Cable.

In addition to providing a wireless service, Charter's Spectrum Mobile carries a small portfolio of smartphones: several Samsung flagships and one lower-end LG device. Surprisingly, Charter doesn't yet sell iPhones. Almost two-thirds of US post-paid smartphone subscribers are iPhone users, meaning that Charter has a significant gap in its range. However, it does allow customers to bring their own smartphones, and we expect the company to address this hole in its device portfolio.

For other post-paid carriers in the US, primarily AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile and Verizon, the entry of Charter and Comcast into their core business could have a major impact over the coming years. Together, these two companies serve about 50 million US households, which means they reach roughly 40 percent of the US population, around 130 million people. The only way for them to expand their new mobile ventures is by taking subscribers from wireless carriers.

We estimate that Comcast's Xfinity Mobile has about 700,000 subscribers. That's still a sliver of the post-paid market in the US, but the cable operator only launched its mobile service in 2017 and has a limited retail presence. Despite this, it's leaving a mark on the market, already surpassing much larger carriers in net additions (see The First Million Is Always the Hardest).

Xfinity Mobile and Spectrum Mobile have the potential to disrupt not only pricing, but also business models, fuelling concerns among rivals, which in turn could lead to more partnerships and acquisitions.

In the US, the cross pollination between the cable and wireless industries is only just beginning. This new environment is a win for consumers, providing them with more choice. Wireless carriers will need to find new, convincing ways to keep their subscribers from churning over to the cable guys.

This entry was posted on July 12th, 2018 and is filed under Devices. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed or you can leave a response.

Posted By Raghu Gopal On July 12th, 2018

(There are no comments yet)
Leave a Comment

Hot News

Team Tweets

CCS Insight
US carriers team up to offer a solution to improve online authentication:
Follow CCS Insight
Shaun Collins
Think about this quote every time I walk across the Thames into the City. Timeless.
Follow Shaun
Ben Wood
RT @nickmcquire: “Our success is dependent on your success. That’s what engenders trust in the long term”. Key sentence. Trust has become n…
Follow Ben
Martin Garner
#msignite2018 @Microsoft -15 #IoT and #EdgeComputing releases. Includes Azure Digital Twin, Azure IoT Platform supp…
Follow Martin
Geoff Blaber
This is going to become a globally contentious theme for #5G. The 4G infrastructure approach won't work with 5G but…
Follow Geoff
Marina Koytcheva
RT @KGeorgieva: My #UNGA fact of the day: 1 in 2 women in low income countries cannot prove their ID. This limits their access to critical…
Follow Marina
Angela Ashenden
There are now 329,000 organisations using @MicrosoftTeams - incredible growth over the last six months, accelerated…
Follow Angela
Kester Mann
RT @benwood: Mystery shopping the iPhone Xs Max. Very constrained stock in-store across all UK channels. Not available till “at least 20th…
Follow Kester
George Jijiashvili
@benwood @podtrackers @PankajKedia '@podtrackers, guys - you're missing a trick here. Make a St. Bernard-exclusive…
Follow George
Laura Simeonova
RT @benwood: P20 devices testament to Huawei's ambition in smartphone market. Consistently improving design, capabilities and appeal of its…
Follow Laura
Katie Taylor
Not too early to test out @sketchbookapp on the @SamsungMobile Note 8
Follow Katie

Recent Blog Posts

Blog Post
US Carriers Partner for Project Verify Initiative Will Use Smartphones to Unlock Online Accounts S... Read more
Blog Post
Walmart to Deploy Oculus Headsets in US Stores Will Workplace Training Be Virtual Reality's Saviour? Virtu... Read more
Blog Post
Google Nets Big Android Win in Cars Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance to Embed Android Last we... Read more
More blog

Latest Company News

Blog Post
Networks' Ambitions to Launch 5G Early Raise Global Forecast New CCS Insight forecast predicts 5G connections will reac... Read more
More news