Altice USA Expands MVNO Deal with T-Mobile
No details, but parties say new multi-year pact ‘beneficial’ to both parties
Altice USA said Thursday that it has expanded its existing MVNO deal with wireless carrier T-Mobile, but offered few details of the new agreement.
Altice had been one of the last remaining major cable operators to redo its mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) agreement with a carrier -- Comcast and Charter renegotiated their MVNO pacts with Verizon in 2020 and Dish reached a new MVNO deal with AT&T last year. At the Morgan Stanley Technology, Media & Telecom conference in San Francisco earlier this month, Altice USA CEO Dexter Goei said a new deal with T-Mobile was coming soon.
On Altice USA’s Q4 conference call with analysts on February 16, Goei said that the company was on the “one-yard line” with T-Mobile regarding renegotiating the MVNO deal, adding that the revised agreement would offer Altice more flexibility and provide “financial incentives” to T-Mobile.
In a press release, Altice USA said the terms of the new agreement “are mutually beneficial to both companies.”
Altice USA launched its mobile product in 2019, through an MVNO deal with Sprint. Sprint was purchased by T-Mobile in 2020.
Altice USA is in the process of rebranding its mobile service as Optimum Mobile across both its Optimum and Suddenlink footprints. As of Q4, Optimum Mobile had about 186,000 mobile lines. Comcast's Xfinity Mobile ended the year with about 4 million mobile lines and Charter closed out 2021 with about 3.6 million mobile lines.
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“As we continue to grow and evolve our Optimum Mobile service, we are pleased to reach a new agreement with T-Mobile that ensures our mobile customers will continue to benefit from T-Mobile’s nationwide network,”Altice USA EVP of consumer services Matt Marino said in a press release. “In addition to access to America’s largest 5G network, the agreement enables Optimum Mobile to provide more flexibility and value to our customers and, when coupled with our Optimum and Suddenlink broadband service, deliver a 360-degree seamless connectivity experience at home and on the go.”
Optimum Mobile currently offers three data plans -- 1 Gigabyte, 3 GB and Unlimited GB -- all with unlimited talk and text and delivered over the T-Mobile network. The services are aggressively priced -- Optimum Mobile’s 1GB plan is free (not including a $20 activation fee) for the first 12 months and $19 per month ($14 if an Optimum broadband customer) thereafter. The Unlimited GB plan is priced at $45 per month.
"We are excited to extend and expand our Altice USA partnership on the T-Mobile network with fast and reliable service to Altice USA’s Optimum Mobile subscribers,” said T-Mobile wholesale SVP Daniel Thygesen in a press release. “By leveraging T-Mobile’s unparalleled network and platforms to serve Optimum Mobile subscribers, Altice USA remains the premier one-stop-shop for bundled mobile and broadband services for its subscribers."
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Mike Farrell is senior content producer, finance for Multichannel News/B+C, covering finance, operations and M&A at cable operators and networks across the industry. He joined Multichannel News in September 1998 and has written about major deals and top players in the business ever since. He also writes the On The Money blog, offering deeper dives into a wide variety of topics including, retransmission consent, regional sports networks,and streaming video. In 2015 he won the Jesse H. Neal Award for Best Profile, an in-depth look at the Syfy Network’s Sharknado franchise and its impact on the industry.