Astound Broadband is the latest U.S. cable provider to enter the mobile fray, announcing today that it will soon debut its new Astound Mobile service in Massachusetts and parts of Texas.
In a press release, Astound Broadband said it will use T-Mobile’s network to eventually offer mobile service to customers in about 4 million homes currently passed by the company in 12 states.
But first, the mobile service will be made available to Astound home internet customers in Massachusetts and Corpus Christi, Midland-Odessa, Temple and Waco, Texas, this month. The company expects to launch Astound Mobile in its remaining markets by the end of the year.
“Astound’s entrance into the wireless market comes at a time when the need for fast, reliable, high-value broadband and mobile services is at an all-time high and more critical than ever,” said Astound CEO Jim Holanda in a statement. “Through our relationship with T-Mobile, we’ll bring exceptional choice, value and savings, and competitive, award-winning services that customers need to stay connected to their world.”
Last month, Astound, which is the sixth largest U.S. cable provider, announced that it had partnered with Reach, the software-as-a-service company, to offer mobile service.
One big selling point for the cable companies: They’re often offering much lower price points than their mobile network partners, but it's usually bundled into their other services.
Astound didn’t reveal the price of its mobile plans today but said it will offer a variety of plans bundled with its internet service, including two “pay by the gig” plans and two unlimited talk and text plans. Customers can choose a plan whereby they only pay for the data they need or they can expand to an unlimited plan with data allotted to each user, according to the press release.
Astound Broadband is comprised of organizations formerly known as RCN, Grande Communications, Wave Broadband and enTouch. The company’s markets include Chicago, Indiana, eastern Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, New York City, Maryland, Washington, D.C., Texas and regions throughout California, Oregon and Washington.
Cable as 4th player
Cable’s rise in the mobile industry, led by Comcast and Charter Communications using Verizon’s network, certainly is catching investors’ attention. In a recent report, MoffettNathanson analyst Craig Moffett suggested that the wireless market is going back to a four-player market not due to Dish Network’s entry – as was envisioned by the government with the T-Mobile/Sprint merger – but through cable.
On a net basis, cable accounted for about 75% of total industry phone net additions in Q1 2023, according to Moffett. Combined, cable now serves nearly 12 million wireless subscribers.
AT&T is getting into the act as well. Earlier this year, the National Content & Technology Cooperative (NCTC) made arrangements with AT&T to provide its members with a white-label MVNO service. Reach also is involved in that deal.