Charter seeks to fill smartphone portfolio manager, other positions ahead of service launch

Charter Communications will launch wireless service under the Spectrum brand next year. (Charter)

Charter is filling a top smartphone-related position as well as multiple jobs in project management as it prepares to expand into wireless.

The cable operator, which has said it plans to launch wireless service in the first half of next year under the Spectrum brand, has a post on its website seeking a “Sr. Portfolio Manager—Smartphone" based out of its offices near Denver. The job includes “defining, launching and lifecycle managing the device portfolio (e.g., smartphones, accessories, etc.)," as well as “recommending and gaining approval for the device road map, and general portfolio management," as well as other responsibilities, according to the listing.

The company is also looking for “a few" mobile project managers, according to a LinkedIn post.

Like its cable rival Comcast, Charter has an MVNO agreement with Verizon that stems from a sale of AWS spectrum licenses to the nation’s largest mobile network operator by a group of cable companies in 2011. Comcast has already launched its Xfinity Mobile offering leveraging that MVNO deal, and Charter has promised a similar effort next year.

“We're on track to launch our wireless service in 2018 using our MVNO agreement with Verizon,” CEO Tom Rutledge said several weeks ago. “Our core operation agreement with Comcast has helped with that process. When offered as part of our bundle, we expect Spectrum branded wireless services to drive more sales of our core products and to create longer customer lives.”

A representative declined to say exactly when Charter planned to launch service or divulge details about details about potential phones, opting instead to cite Rutledge’s recent comments.

Charter executives have spoken publicly about their plans to pursue an “inside-out” strategy starting with a Wi-Fi-first MVNO, then expanding into developing its own mobile infrastructure using LTE small cells. The company hopes to use 3.5 GHz spectrum for both licensed and unlicensed use, and is urging the FCC to move quickly not only to release the spectrum but also to put rules around the spectrum that would keep licenses geographically no bigger than a county.