Competition in the wireless industry is growing and changing. Comcast, Charter and Altice are moving into wireless. Comcast launched one year ago. Charter Spectrum is getting ready to launch in the next few months. Altice will do so next year. So, the wireless industry is under a new wave of competitive and transformational pressure. Let’s take a look at whether Charter and Altice will be as successful as Comcast in wireless.
Wireless could help Charter stabilize their customer numbers short-term and help show growth long-term. The question is, do they have the competitive fire in the belly that it takes to succeed in wireless?
Many companies like Facebook, Amazon.com, Comcast, Time Warner, Charter, Cox and others tried this several years ago and failed. This time around could be different.
Comcast is successful with their Xfinity Mobile since it was launched one year ago. Will Charter and Altice follow their success, or will they fail in wireless?
It’s important to have a base level understanding of what is happening in the wireless and pay TV industries. The changes are much larger than just one company. Parts of these two industries are coming together and we are starting to see plenty of cross-competition.
AT&T and AT&T Mobility started with DirecTV NOW and wireless TV
This transformation wave started a few years ago with AT&T when they acquired DirecTV NOW, which now offers pay TV service over IPTV or the Internet and over their wireless AT&T Mobility service. That way customers can watch TV anywhere in the USA over their wireless devices like smartphones or tablets.
Seeing AT&T success, last year we heard talk from Verizon Wireless that they would move in the same direction. Next, a few months ago, T-Mobile said they would be moving in the same direction as well.
At the same time, Comcast started offering their Xfinity Mobile wireless service nearly a year ago, and they seem to be doing well. Altice says they will be entering wireless sometime next year. Xfinity Mobile and Charter Spectrum resell Verizon Wireless. Altice will resell Sprint.
This raises a question. Why are these other companies taking so long to enter each other’s business? Why is Charter taking longer than a year after Comcast, and Altice two years? Why is Verizon taking so long after AT&T. This delay makes no sense in a hot and competitive market.
This shows the difference between the aggressive and competitive warriors, AT&T and Comcast, vs. the rest of the competitors. It makes me wonder whether these other companies have what it takes to enter a new world in the same way.
Typically, because of intense competitive pressure in mobile, we see wireless companies race to be first at everything. And if they are not first, they are a close second.
I think Verizon will continue to follow AT&T, as they always do. They have not been hurt by their less than aggressive nature. They continue to grow and succeed.
Comcast Xfinity Mobile is also a fast-moving competitor. Different from Charter and Altice. The delay in entering wireless has me wondering whether Charter and Altice have the fire in the belly they need to win at wireless?
AT&T and Comcast are the first competitors in wireless and pay TV
Today, the two main competitors in this space are AT&T and Comcast. While that’s great, I expected a much faster industry wide rollout between all the other competitors including Verizon, T-Mobile, Sprint, Charter, Altice USA and others.
I had expected to see Charter getting ready to enter the wireless space and whipping up excitement in the marketplace. However, they have not even officially named their wireless service yet. Or at least they have not announced it yet.
This leads me to believe that Charter does not look at wireless the same way Verizon Wireless, AT&T Mobility, T-Mobile and Sprint do. They must look at wireless as another slice of their pie. Another way to create a stable and sticky customer base.
My predictions for Charter Spectrum Mobile entry into wireless
So, let me weigh in on what I think will happen next. As for the name, they could call their new service Spectrum Mobile. As for the service, I don’t expect them to compete head to head with the wireless competitors in the space. Instead, like what Comcast is doing, I expect them to sell wireless services only to their TV customers.
Their goal will not likely be to compete with and win at traditional wireless. Instead, their goal will be to help them stabilize their customer base and eventually show growth as well. This may evolve over the first few years if they are successful.
This may explain why they are so quite right now. Rather than a revolutionary new wireless service, they may see their mobile offering as just another service to create a sticky customer.
Expect Charter Spectrum Mobile to create sticky-bundle of services
I expect Charter to use their wireless service to create a sticky-bundle of services to keep their customers from leaving as competition heats up in the pay television world.
I don’t expect them to advertise and market hot and heavy the way we see AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile and Sprint. Comcast does not do this either, and they are successful.
I do expect Charter to market their sticky-bundle of services directly to their TV customers. I expect their prices to be lower than stand-alone wireless deals in order to attract customers. This works for Comcast.
The next question is will there be anything different or special with their wireless service that users cannot get from other vendors? I don’t know yet. They are keeping very quiet about the details around this whole wireless evolution.
Danny Bowman and Rich DiGeronimo will head Charter Spectrum Mobile
Charter recently hired Danny Bowman to be their Chief Mobile Officer. He will launch Spectrum Mobile, or whatever they will name this new service. Bowman reports to Rich DiGeronimo, who is Executive VP of Product and Strategy. Together, they will create the map for wireless the next chapter of growth at Charter.
As you can see, there are quite a few questions surrounding Charter’s move into wireless. I hope they will be successful with this wireless move like Comcast is with theirs. But, we’ll just have to sit tight and wait till they start to explain their wireless service and enter the wireless wars in the next couple months. My thinking is that will happen soon. So, stay tuned. There’s more to come.
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