Altice wireless service ‘restricted to sell within footprint,’ Sprint CFO says

Altice USA flag
Wall Street seems to still be mulling Altice USA’s big wireless move.

Whenever it does launch its wireless service, Altice USA will make it available only to customers within its footprint, just as larger cable operators Comcast and Charter are doing with their respective MVNO-based mobile products.

“With respect to restrictions on Altice to sell within their footprint, they are restricted to sell within their footprint but we are very happy if they are expanding their footprint and we would be expanding their ability to sell in any new footprint that they would be expanding to,” Sprint CFO Tarek Robbiati said during a conference call with reporters this morning to discuss the wireless company’s new MVNO deal with Altice USA. 

Altice USA rep Lisa Anselmo, meanwhile told FierceCable only that the cable operator hasn’t announced its “go-to-market timing or details” yet. 

RELATED: Altice gets into wireless biz with Sprint MVNO deal

On Sunday, Altice USA and Sprint jointly announced a new mobile virtual network operator agreement. Specific terms of the agreement weren't announced. But in broad strokes, Altice will have "full use" of Sprint's mobile network to launch a new service. Sprint, meanwhile, will be able to use Altice's fiber-rich network for "densification" and 5G ramp-up. 

Wall Street seems to still be mulling Altice USA’s big wireless move. Analysts scratched their heads last week as news of parent company Altice NV lowering guidance cratered stocks for the recently IPO’d Altice USA by 15%. This, even though the U.S. company saw 3.8% revenue growth in the third quarter while maintaining solid 41% margins. 

On first glance, Altice’s mobile initiative seems to be the same bundle play as Comcast’s Xfinity Mobile, which is only available to existing Comcast wireline broadband customers. 

In announcing its MVNO deal with Sprint, however, Altice did seem to leave the door open to change its mind, noting the service would be available “nationwide.”

It should be noted that Altice actually exited the wireless business before it entered it. When Altice took over Cablevision last year to form its U.S. cable company, it ended a Wi-Fi-based wireless service launched in January 2015 by Cablevision called Freewheel.

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