Breezeline to add mobile to its broadband offer

  • Breezeline provides wired internet, TV and voice services in 13 states

  • The company plans to launch a mobile phone service this spring

  • The MVNO is arranged via the NCTC  

Breezeline, the eighth-largest cable operator in the United States, is the latest to announce plans to offer mobile services.

Launching under the Breezeline Mobile moniker, the service will be offered to Breezeline Internet customers as by-the-gig and unlimited data plans.

A subsidiary of Cogeco Communications, Breezeline is offering the mobile service via the MVNO arrangement available through the National Content & Technology Cooperative (NCTC). Last year, NCTC announced a deal with AT&T to provide its members with a white-label MVNO service.

Breezeline’s billing, account management and provisioning will be enabled through the Reach cloud platform.

“Customers will now have a new choice for affordable, high-performance mobile connectivity, with reliable national coverage and a superior customer experience,” said Breezeline President Frank van der Post in a statement.

The company said it plans to offer the mobile BYOD phone service in its service areas starting this spring. The company operates in the following states: Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Virginia and West Virginia.

A Breezeline spokesperson said the plan is to launch first in Connecticut in early April, then follow shortly thereafter with the other markets. Customers will be notified once the service is available in their locations. 

Bundling for lower churn

Landline providers are looking to use mobile to reduce churn and increase average revenue per account (ARPA). “That’s kind of the standard playbook,” said 556 Ventures analyst Bill Ho. “Bundles equals reduced churn. If they’re happy with it, they’re unlikely to leave,” he said.

In a note for investors, TD Cowen analysts said the addition and retention of broadband subscribers has been a notable source of weakness for Breezeline in recent quarters.

“We do not expect meaningful traction overnight, and we are not changing any forecasts today, but this is a step in the right direction, in our view,” the Cowen analysts said.

“We do not see wireless as a meaningful standalone profit center” for the company, but even at break-even, “it is good to have wireless in the bundle to help lower broadband churn,” they commented.

Asked about cable’s increasing presence in the wireless space, executives at the Big 3 wireless carriers typically shrug it off and note the wholesale revenues that they get when the cable companies ride on their network.

But UScellular President and CEO Laurent Therivel said during the company’s most recent earnings call that the expansion of cable into the wireless space has driven a slowdown in gross adds.

A few years ago, cable had essentially zero market share in UScellular’s markets and cable is now competing in about two-thirds of its footprint.

Editor's note: This article was updated with additional launch information from Breezeline.