Wireless has been growing and changing for decades. Now, the cable television companies are going wireless. First it was Comcast with Xfinity Mobile last year. Then Charter with Spectrum Mobile will enter soon. Next Altice USA will enter wireless next year. In fact, Altice Mobile just named their new head of mobile, senior VP, Jean-Charles Nicolas. So, what can we expect next?
After Comcast entered wireless a year ago with Xfinity Mobile, we wondered whether they would be successful or not. They have a different set of goals, but after a year it looks like so far, they are successful. Charter is getting ready to enter wireless and it looks like they will follow the same path as Comcast. Will they be successful as well? They both are MVNO players and re-sell Verizon Wireless services.
Next year, Altice Mobile will enter wireless and they will very likely take a similar path. They will also be an MVNO, but they will re-sell Sprint, not Verizon Wireless. Of course, that’s assuming there is still a Sprint, since they are currently trying to merge with T-Mobile. Will Altice succeed in wireless?
Will Charter Spectrum Mobile and Altice Mobile be as successful as Comcast Xfinity Mobile?
These three cable television companies are entering wireless. With that said, we can’t assume they will automatically succeed at the same level. There is one thing I do not understand. If wireless is such an important new slice to the pie for these cable television companies, why are Charter and Altice taking so long to enter? It makes no sense.
I think Charter and Altice should have entered wireless last year with Comcast. Why the delay? Could this shine a light on the difference between these companies and perhaps their levels of success in wireless.
I hope all the cable television companies are successful in wireless as the industry continues to grow and to change I look forward to getting to know these new executives. Perhaps all three will be successful. Then again, perhaps only some will be successful.
At this early point, all I can do is assume this is traditional cable television thinking. In the past, cable TV in general never faced the kind of competition they now face in wireless. They never had to worry about innovation and change. They never had to be first to market or best in market.
However, over the last several years, competition and innovation in the pay TV marketplace has been increasing at light speed.
Leadership is changing with AT&T and Comcast
The biggest new competitor in pay TV is AT&T with their DirecTV NOW. And now that AT&T has acquired Time Warner and renamed it WarnerMedia, I only expect that threat to continue and to grow.
In this world, competitors move at lightning-speed. The cable television world must gear up, speed up and prepare if they want to succeed. Comcast has done that with their rapid entry into wireless. They are meeting the goals they have set.
However, the year delay for Charter Spectrum Mobile and the two-year delay for Altice Mobile are concerning to me. With this kind of delay, will they be nimble enough to successfully compete in the fast-moving wireless industry? That’s an important question.
I hope so. If not, they will lose not only in wireless, but in pay TV as well, as competitors continue to gain market share and transform the marketplace in new and innovative ways.
There is no sitting still in cable TV today. There is no just staying put. Companies are either growing or shrinking. And new competitors like AT&T, Verizon, Netflix, Amazon.com, Google, Hulu and many others are rapidly changing and redefining the pay TV space.
That means every existing pay TV player must adapt, must update and must grow. They must change, and they must lead in a rapidly changing marketplace.
This is a time where taking a year or two to slowly enter wireless is a real concern for me to watch. They should me moving ahead very rapidly. Why aren’t they?
AT&T owns AT&T Mobility, DirecTV NOW, WarnerMedia, wireless TV, high speed Internet and more, and this is a potent mixture that I would say is rapidly changing and expanding the industry.
Comcast owns cable TV, Xfinity Mobile, NBC Universal, high speed Internet and more. I would say they are at the top of the list of traditional cable TV competitors. They stand the best chance to continue to successfully compete moving forward.
Is Altice Mobile and Charter Spectrum Mobile up to the new challenge?
What about Charter and Altice? That is the question mark I am addressing here. They don’t move as quickly and are not as nimble. Will that matter to them as their core marketplace continues to transform and new leaders fight their way to the top?
One thing is for sure, they can’t sit still. Every company in this space either moves forward or backward. That means Charter and Altice will either move forward or backwards. So, this is the time for them to hit it. That’s the challenge these companies face. They need to be quick and nimble and competitive.
I hope as Altice Mobile new head of mobile, Jean-Charles Nicolas gets started, he will keep this in mind. I truly hope both Altice and Charter are successful going forward in wireless. I think the changing marketplace will always be better with more competitors. However, success will only come from companies who are prepared to win. Are Charter and Altice prepared to win? I hope so. Stay tuned.
This article is published as part of the IDG Contributor Network. Want to Join?