Altice USA nears new MVNO deal with T-Mobile

Altice USA CEO Dexter Goei hinted the operator is on the cusp of striking a new MVNO deal with T-Mobile as it prepares to ramp efforts to promote its mobile offering in earnest.

Speaking during an earnings call, Goei said Altice is “on the one-yard line…to talk about announcing a new agreement with T-Mo.” Though he offered little detail, Goei said the proposed arrangement would “allow us a little flexibility and will provide our partners over at T-Mo with some good financial incentives as well.”

Altice USA originally launched its Optimum Mobile service in 2019 via an MVNO agreement with Sprint, but has been partners with T-Mobile since the wireless players merged in 2020. Substantially all of Altice’s customers had migrated to T-Mobile’s network as of Q1 2021.

Goei said in the year since it’s been fully on T-Mobile’s network, churn rates have plummeted from the “mid-60s to 70% to mid-30s today.” That figure continues to improve month-over-month, he added.

The CEO previously talked up plans to revamp its mobile offer with better deals and marketing. On the call, he highlighted the launch of a fixed broadband and mobile bundle in January. This move already “positions us much better versus our competition and should support improved customer growth this year,” he said, but added “we think we'll be able to be even more aggressive here in the coming months.”

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As it devotes more attention to growing the mobile business, Goei said Altice believes it can match or exceed the precedent set by fellow cable operators Comcast and Charter. Comcast, which launched its mobile offer in 2017 turned its first profit from the business in Q1 2021. At the end of 2021, Charter reported a total of nearly 3.6 million mobile lines, and Comcast reported $4 million.

“We don't see there's any reason why we can't achieve as good of results, if not better, than our peers there,” Goei said. “And you'll start seeing some of those strategies unfold over the next couple of months as we start being more promotional.”

Optimum Mobile added 5,000 customers in Q4 2021, ending the year with a total of 186,000 lines. That figure represented 4% penetration of Altice’s residential customer base.

Consolidated revenue was roughly flat year on year at $2.52 billion, while net income fell from $330.5 million to $251.7 million. Mobile revenue grew 18% to $23.8 million.