Altice rebrands MVNO wireless service to Optimum Mobile

Altice USA on Friday announced a rebranding of its mobile service to Optimum Mobile nationwide, as the MVNO renews a push for wireless.

The cable operator launched Altice Mobile-branded wireless service in 2019, originally riding on the legacy Sprint network under an MVNO agreement but now on T-Mobile’s network since the operators merged.

At the end of the first quarter 2021, Altice USA CEO Dexter Goei noted that “substantially all” of its MVNO subscribers had migrated to T-Mobile’s network. In May the executive said the company’s wireless efforts had initially been hurt by an underperforming Sprint network, but churn rates had come down 20-30% as quality improved with the shift to T-Mobile since the fourth quarter.

Altice has a 21-state broadband footprint, operating under the Optimum brand in the New York tri-state area and Suddenlink across West and mid-Atlantic states. It’s now going all in on Optimum, with the mobile branding change effective July 25. More details on Optimum Mobile service and plans are expected then as a new website launches Sunday.

Compared to its cable MVNO counterparts such as Charter’s Spectrum Mobile and Comcast’s Xfinity Mobile, Altice joined the scene later and has far fewer mobile subscribers. Charter and Comcast both have MVNO deals with Verizon. 

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In the first quarter Altice Mobile added just 5,000 subscribers, bringing its total to 174,000. Comparatively, Comcast added 278,000 for a total of 3.1 million at the end of March and Charter netted 300,000 mobile additions in Q1 for a total of nearly 2.7 million mobile lines.

The three cable operators are all set to report second-quarter earnings next week.

While Altice’s MVNO service is still working to make a mark, Goei previously indicated a bigger push was coming this year.

Speaking at a MoffettNathanson investor conference in May, he noted Altice was still focused on probability over volume for its mobile business, working out technical kinks before embarking on a major marketing campaign.

“And then at some point in the near future we will go out and be more aggressive on the marketing side,” Goei said at the time, targeting the fourth quarter of 2021.

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In the Friday announcement, Altice pegged the name change as a first step in aligning all of its brand under one nationwide Optimum name.

“Today’s consumer demands reliability, speed and ubiquity when it comes to connectivity,” said Hakim Boubazine, Altice USA president of Telecommunications and COO, in a statement. “As we unify our brands under one Optimum brand, we will deliver on our promise to provide a consistent and reliable converged connectivity experience to all our customers inside and outside the home. So, whether it’s Gigabit speed internet service or Optimum Mobile service, customers can expect the most reliable coverage and speed wherever they are.”

Altice called out key features of Optimum Mobile, including T-Mobile’s 5G network and flexibility to switch between data plans with no fees. It offers 1 GB, 3 GB, and unlimited data plans with unlimited talk and text starting at $14 per month for broadband customers, or $24 per month for others.  

Optimum Mobile service is available to Altice customers, as well as non-customers that live in or near its cable service footprint.