Altice USA and Sprint announced a MVNO deal, with the fourth largest U.S. cable company now joining top operators Comcast and Charter in the wireless business.
Under terms of the agreement, Altice USA will have “full use” of Sprint’s network to provide mobile voice and data services to customers across its national footprint. Sprint, in turn, will leverage Altice's broadband platform to accelerate the densification of its network and build out for 5G services.
Altice didn’t disclose a timeline in regard to the launch of its wireless service. It’s unclear as to whether the service will be available to customers outside the Altice footprint—Fierce has an inquiry into Altice on that one. For its part, Comcast’s Xfinity Mobile service is only available to existing Comcast wireline broadband customers.
Both Comcast and Charter have entered the wireless business by mixing an MVNO arrangement with No. 1 U.S. wireless company Verizon with their own Wi-Fi networks. Xfinity Mobile launched earlier this year. Charter's wireless service is expected to arrive in the first quarter of next year. Today Comcast counts more than 250,000 subscribers to its Xfinity Mobile MVNO.
The deal between Sprint and Altice came one day after Sprint ended talks with T-Mobile regarding a merger.
“Altice is a convergent leader with more than 26 million mobile customers in countries including France, Portugal, Israel, and the Dominican Republic, and we are excited to bring our global expertise to the U.S. to enhance and strengthen our offerings,” said Altice USA Chairman and CEO Dexter Goei in a statement. “Working together we will be able to capitalize on Sprint’s vast mobile network, which fits well alongside Altice USA’s deep Wi-Fi network, and leverage Altice’s global mobile experience to deliver greater value, more benefits and seamless connectivity for our U.S. customers.”
Added Sprint President and CEO Marcelo Claure: “As content and connectivity continue to converge, we believe this approach will be a model for future strategic arrangements across multiple industries including cable, tech and others.”
Altice USA has 4.9 million residential broadband and pay TV customers, having coalesced last year when Europe’s Altice NV closed on its separate purchases of Cablevision and Suddenlink Communications.