Altice Mobile is raising its prices for new subscribers from $20 per line, per month to $30. Altice only launched its mobile service in September 2019. On its earnings call with investors yesterday, it said as of the end of Q4 it had 69,000 subscriber lines, which is about 2% of its broadband customer base. It reported mobile revenues of $18 million for the quarter, up from $3 million the previous quarter.
Altice Mobile operates as a mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) riding mostly on Sprint’s network.
“Looking at industry matrices, this penetration growth is ahead of what we've seen from other MVNO launches by about two times faster,” said Altice CEO Dexter Goei on the company’s Q4 earnings call. Those other MVNOs include Spectrum Mobile from Charter and Comcast's mobile offering. Charter reported on its Q4 earnings call that its Spectrum Mobile subscribers passed the 1 million mark. And Comcast's MVNO surpassed the 2 million-sub mark. Both Charter and Comcast use Verizon as their underlying wireless network.
For Altice, its introductory wireless offering was focused on providing one simple unlimited plan for $20 a month for existing Optimum and Suddenlink customers. The cost for non-broadband customers was $30 a month. Next week, the $20 price for existing customers will go up to $30.
“Altice Mobile has been ramping up since we launched in September, as we continue to expand our handset lineup and opened multiple sales channels,” said Goei. During the fourth quarter, the company broadened its handset lineup with the addition of iPhones and Samsung devices. Goei said that with the launch of new handsets this year Altice expects that to “drive a strong switching cycle.”
Effects of T-Mobile, Sprint deal
Charter’s MVNO agreement with Sprint will transfer over to the New T-Mobile when that merger closes. “We are very happy and supportive of the TMo Sprint decision, which we believe will be a very good now long-term partnership for us,” said Goei. “So we feel really good about the opportunities to work with New TMo." He added that obviously, there are a lot of things to work out in terms of the transition to the combined T-Mobile and Sprint networks and the establishment of 5G services.
Analyst Craig Moffett with MoffettNathanson said, “With a successfully merged T-Mobile/Sprint, Altice customers will soon have access to a best-in-class network at a disruptively low price."
Goei indicated the company is weighing its options in terms of marketing Altice Mobile.
“We've got plenty of experience on the wireless and what we think the wireless impact is on our existing subscribers on fixed line,” said Goei. “I think the real question is the cost dynamics of distributing our mobile, We also are mindful that we don't want to spend the amount of money that we've seen some other people spend early on.”