Charter takes aim at T-Mobile, Verizon in its Spectrum Mobile ads

Spectrum Mobile is directly positioning its service against T-Mobile. (Charter)

Charter is working to set its MVNO apart from rivals, and part of its strategy appears to be positioning its mobile offering directly against its mobile rivals like Verizon and T-Mobile.

Specifically, some of Charter’s advertisements for its new Spectrum Mobile MVNO directly name T-Mobile and Verizon—an indication that Charter is working to set itself apart from some of the biggest names in mobile as it works to stamp out a position for its new MVNO mobile service.

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As noted by Wave7 Research, two of Spectrum Mobile’s new advertisements argue that its offerings are cheaper than offerings from T-Mobile and Verizon. For example, in one of its ads, Charter argued that T-Mobile’s latest promotion requires customers to sign up for four lines of service in order to obtain its cheapest pricing.

“If you only want one or two lines, there’s no deal,” states one of the characters in one of Spectrum Mobile’s latest ads. The ads are available through advertisement-monitoring company iSpot. “T-Mobile bad. Spectrum Mobile good,” the Charter ad states.

Other Spectrum Mobile ads take aim at Verizon’s mobile service pricing. That’s noteworthy considering Charter’s Spectrum Mobile service is an MVNO that piggybacks on Verizon’s nationwide wireless network. As an MVNO, Charter’s Spectrum Mobile handles billing, customer care and other mobile functions, but relies on Verizon’s wireless network for connectivity.

Nonetheless, the advertisements from Charter represent a more aggressive position in the mobile space by the cable company. Charter is following Comcast into the mobile industry—Comcast’s Xfinity Mobile MVNO service launched last year—but in its advertisements, Comcast’s Xfinity Mobile hasn’t called out any rivals. Instead, it has focused on relatively general wireless themes like coverage and mobile capabilities.

(Though, to be clear, Comcast's Xfinity Mobile last year did position its pricing directly against rivals like Verizon, AT&T and T-Mobile in mailings sent to prospective customers. Those mailings were highlighted by Mintel Comperemedia.)

Charter’s advertisements in the mobile space come as it works to generate momentum for its recently launched MVNO service. In October, Charter said its Spectrum Mobile service, an MVNO offering that runs over Verizon’s network, has so far gained a total of 21,000 lines. The company initially launched the offering in July and expanded it to its full cable footprint at the beginning of September.

That figure is dwarfed by Comcast’s own mobile efforts: Comcast counts almost 1 million lines for its own Xfinity Mobile service. However, Comcast, has been offering its own service since April 2017.

As for T-Mobile, the company’s executives said in October that T-Mobile isn’t yet seeing any threats from Charter.

“The cable guys are definitely here,” Legere noted in October, but he said that Comcast’s Xfinity Mobile growth is “coming almost exclusively from Verizon.”

“We’re not feeling that major pressure from them,” Legere said of Comcast. “It's too early to tell for Charter."

Spectrum Mobile and Xfinity Mobile represent attempts by Charter and Comcast, respectively, to break into the mobile space in order to bolster their existing telecommunication businesses.

Article updated Dec. 5 with information from Mintel Comperemedia.