Charter taps its Wi-Fi to provide speed boost for its mobile customers

Charter Communications today reported that its total residential and SMB mobile lines increased by 373,000, during its first quarter of 2022. As of March 31, 2022, Charter served a total of 3.9 million mobile lines, and that’s since grown to over 4 million.

Interestingly, Charter CEO Tom Rutledge said, “In April we began the market rollout of mobile speed boost. Mobile speed boost allows Spectrum Mobile customers to receive speeds up to 1 gigabit per second on their Spectrum Mobile service devices when inside their homes, even when their provisioned wireline internet speed is less than a gigabit.”

The "boost" from Spectrum Mobile Speed Boost comes from combining the cellular service, which rides on Verizon’s network, together with a boost from the customer’s Charter Wi-Fi service. Spectrum Mobile is only available to Charter's broadband customers.

Apparently, 85% of its customers' mobile usage goes through Charter's Wi-Fi. When a customer is at home, their mobile device connects to their private Wi-Fi network. The Wi-Fi network will then identify the Spectrum Mobile device and deliver a speed boost.

Rutledge also made some comments about speed boost at a Morgan Stanley conference in March. He said, “We have a product called Speed Boost. So, when you're our [broadband] customer and you're our mobile customer, we'll open up your mobile phone to gig speeds whenever you're near one of our radios.”


Rutledge today also mentioned Charter’s work with offloading some of its mobile traffic onto its CBRS spectrum.

The company has a joint venture with Comcast on its CBRS offload work.

He said, “The rollout of our first trial of our CBRS small cells in a full market area continues to progress nicely. In the first quarter we completed the buildout of our mobile core network for the upcoming trial. We expect the trial to begin in the middle of this year and to offer faster speeds and better overall mobile experience all the while saving us costs.”

Comcast, which reported its Q1 2022 earnings this week, also saw a nice increase in mobile subscribers. Overall, it added 1.2 million lines over the past 12 months, including 318,000 lines in the first quarter of 2022, which for the fifth consecutive quarter was the best since launching the business in 2017.

By the numbers

Analysts were disappointed with Charter’s broadband numbers during the first quarter, and its stock is down more than 7% after today's earnings report.

First quarter revenue of $13.2 billion grew by 5.4% year-over-year, driven by residential revenue growth of 3.7% and mobile revenue growth of 40.2%. However, first quarter mobile revenue of $690 million was offset by mobile costs of $760 million, which was comprised of device costs, customer acquisition costs and service and operating costs.

First quarter capital expenditures totaled $1.9 billion and included $74 million of mobile-related capital expenditures.


This week Charter and Comcast made big news, announcing a joint venture for streaming video.

RELATED: Comcast, Charter join forces on national streaming platform

Today, Rutledge said, “Our joint venture will provide video, delivered by apps, a competitive app store, on-TV applications, and is capable of aggregation, navigation, search and curation, billing and content security. It will give consumers new devices and content providers new opportunities to create customer relationships on a platform designed to help them sell video effectively.”