Altice USA Steps Up Rebranding with ‘Let’s Reconnect’ Campaign
Higher speeds, customer service improvements come after a year of broadband losses
Months after it reported a full year of broadband subscriber losses — the only major cable operator to do so — Altice USA continues to step up efforts to win back customers with a new campaign entitled “Let’s Reconnect,” and pledging to rebrand its Suddenlink Communications markets to Optimum later this year.
The new campaign comes after Altice USA lost about 3,000 broadband customers in 2021, a year where although overall high-speed Internet customer growth slowed down, it was at least positive for the rest of the sector. Altice USA is in a bit of a unique competitive situation — about one-third of its footprint is within Verizon Fios territory, which has been very aggressive in winning broadband subscribers. As a result, Altice USA said it would accelerate the buildout of its fiber network and push hard to bring new services and functionality to customers.
The rebranding and “Let’s Reconnect” campaigns are just another step in that process. Altice has already rebranded its wireless service as Optimum Mobile, and said Suddenlink subscribers in the West and Mid-Atlantic states would be receiving service under a new name in the future. That future, apparently, is now.
“As part of Let’s Reconnect, we’re making changes to ensure that we are delivering the very best service and experience to our customers and keeping them at the center of everything that we do,” Altice said in a statement. “This means more speed and reliability through our fiber network and mobile service, 24/7 customer support online and over the phone, the opening of more retail stores across the country and so much more.”
In a letter to customers, Altice USA executive VP of consumer services Matt Marino pointed to increased internet speeds as the fiber buildout progresses; easy to understand pricing and surprise-free billing; better service through the hire of thousands of local employees and the opening of 70 new retail locations; and an increased commitment to its communities, through company donations to public schools and organizations.
“We heard you and we know it’s time to reconnect,” Marino wrote in the letter. “Though keeping you connected to what you love has always been our number one goal, we understand that we haven’t always gotten it right. So, we’re working hard to make important changes as a recommitment to you.”
Whether this will be enough to put a dent in subscriber losses remains to be seen.
Still, Altice USA is making an effort to right the ship. In addition to the fiber acceleration, the company has expanded its MVNO agreement with T-Mobile for its Optimum Mobile service, launched Optimum Stream, a 4K-capable Android TV device for free to its 1 Gigabit-per-second broadband customers, and made some management changes.
Altice stock went into a tailspin in February after it announced plans to step up the fiber build and accelerate its edge-out program to expand its addressable footprint. Shares fell as much as 22% on February 17,ending the day down 18% to $11.83 per share from $14.40 each the day before. Since then, the stock hasn’t regained much of that ground — it closed at $12.70 each on April 4.
In a research note in February, MoffettNathanson senior analyst Craig Moffett noted that Altice’s plans to speed up the fiber deployment and accelerate edge-outs to increase their addressable market are good signs. But Moffett added that it can no longer be assured that the company will be a grower in the long term.
“At the heart of the problem is broadband,” Moffett wrote. “Altice’s broadband subscriber growth has slowed to a stop.”
It appears that with the new campaign, Altice is hoping to turn that perception around. ■
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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.