Altice USA CEO Dexter Goei told analysts the company is gearing up to launch its mobile MVNO service in the coming months.
“We’re on track for a full commercial launch this summer,” Goei said during the company’s Q1 earnings call, according to a transcript provided by Motley Fool.
Goei noted that the company is in a phase of heavy testing for its MVNO offering. “We have major mobile handset partnerships in place and have developed our IT platforms for digital-first experience,” he said. Goei declined to offer any pricing information for the service, but said that information would be made available closer to its launch.
Altice has deployed more than 19,000 small cells in less than one year, through its partnership with Sprint, “representing the fastest rollout of its kind in the U.S.,” Goei said, adding that the deployment has led to “significant” network performance improvements in the operator’s footprint.
“Our core network infrastructure is ready to go, giving us full access control over the customer experience and allows us to better manage traffic,” he said.
Goei said Altice’s infrastructure-based approach to the MVNO is an advantage it has over other cable providers launching mobile service. “We have relatively attractive wholesale economics compared to other MVNOs,” he said. He later added that the MVNO business could be profitable “right out of the box.”
Altice has said in the past that its full infrastructure-based MVNO will rely only on wireless partner Sprint’s radio access network (RAN) only, while Altice will handle all over aspects of the mobile service, including the SIM, roaming and network partners, data and internet access, voice messaging, rate charging, customer care and billing.
“The infrastructure-based MVNO allows us to have better control of the economics, not only in terms of our price points with our agreement with Sprint, but also in terms of the managing of the traffic,” he said.
When asked about the competitive threat posed by T-Mobile’s 5G fixed wireless home broadband service in rural communities that are part of Suddenlink’s territory, Goei said the company considers 5G fixed wireless a “niche product” in the short term.
“We’re not dismissive of the potential challengers out there,” he said. “We actually do think that there are quite attractive potential applications of 5G, whether with T-Mobile or someone else. We just don’t think that we are at the center of the attention from 5G.”