Comcast yesterday reported the company added 294,000 wireless lines in Q3 2023. Comcast now has 6.2 million wireless lines in total. In contrast, Charter today reported it added 594,000 wireless lines in Q3, bringing its total wireless lines to 7.2 million.
Comcast reported $917 million in domestic wireless revenue during the quarter, an increase of 16% year over year.
At the end of the third quarter, Comcast rolled out a buy-one-get-one free device offer in conjunction with the iPhone 15 launch.
Yesterday, Comcast CFO Jason Armstrong said, “We continue to test some new converged offers, which along with the new iPhone launch should translate into accelerated line additions in the fourth quarter. With still only about 10% penetration of our domestic residential broadband customer accounts, we have a big opportunity and long runway ahead for growth in wireless.”
More specifically on the current wireless offerings, David Watson, CEO of Comcast Cable, said the company rolled out a buy one, get one free offer at the very end of Q3. “It's really kicking off in earnest in Q4. It's a straightforward, good, solid offer that will be accretive and will drive broadband benefits in doing so," said Watson.
During the quarter Comcast said it was now deploying Samsung strand-mounted small cells to build its own wireless infrastructure, using its CBRS spectrum. Comcast is first deploying the small cells in its Philadelphia market.
Yesterday, Watson said, “We are continuing to test in terms of the CBRS roll-offs where we've picked up the pace on that, staying close to what Charter is doing.”
He said Comcast has seen “good progress in the ability to off-load traffic” and that the main benefit of CBRS is on the cost side. “If you have 3% of your geographic footprint that's delivering 60% of the traffic, that's a good option.”
Watson added, “The key for CBRS is that we just want to be in position and doing it without a massive amount of Capex to be able to deliver that smaller geographic area.”
Charter CEO Chris Winfrey touted the company’s addition of 594,000 mobile lines in Q3 and said today that over 12% of Charter’s internet customers now have mobile service.
Charter reported $581 million in mobile service revenues during the quarter, an increase of 33.8% year over year.
Jessica Fischer, Charter CFO said, “In the third quarter of last year, we launched Spectrum One pilot programs in a handful of markets. The pilot program customers reached their 12-month anniversary during the third quarter of this year.”
Spectrum One essentially gives customers a free wireless line for one year.
Analysts have been curious how Spectrum One customers will react when their 12-month discounts end and they have to pay more for their wired/wireless bundles. Today, Fischer said churn of those initial Spectrum One mobile lines “was small and even less than we expected.”
She added, “In the fourth quarter, we'll start gaining revenue from the mobile free-line roll-off. It's relatively small inside of Q4, but the impact builds as you go through next year.”
And Charter CEO Chris Winfrey noted that customers who go from a $0 price point for their mobile line to a $30 price point are still getting a cheap price. “At $30, you can't replicate that mobile product anywhere else in the country that's producing that speed,” he said.