Altice USA continues to tout the benefits of its “full MVNO” approach for a mobile service it still says is on track to launch in the first half of next year.
Notably, the company said it is building out so much wireless network infrastructure, it will operate more as a mobile network operator than a mobile virtual network operator that leases wireless network services.
“We will be operating our own core network with its own [Home Location Register], which is the brain of the mobile network,” said Altice USA CEO Dexter Goei, speaking during the operator’s third-quarter earnings conference call.
“This means we will manage our own customer base and mobile services, as well as provide our own SIM cards, so we can negotiate costs with our SOM suppliers directly and mange the configuration where we have scale and benefit from a lot of legacy experience in countries outside the U.S.,” Goei added.
Altice USA is launching its mobile service based on an MVNO deal carved out with Sprint last year. The cable operator agreed to help densify the wireless company’s network to enhance coverage and capacity in its own footprint. Goei said Altice still has a lower wholesale network lease price than “light MVNO” users like Comcast and Charter, which have partnered up with Verizon.
“In other words, we are getting ready to operate almost like an MNO and will provide a great value proposition to our customers and the market,” he said.
“We basically own and control everything apart from spectrum and base stations, although we are currently testing CBRS spectrum, and will see if any spectrum locally becomes available,” Goei added.
Altice, Goei explained, has a “path” to a spectrum strategy, whereas light MVNO users need to switch strategyes and build out their own mobile infrastructure to capitalize on the benefits of the Citizens Broadband Radio Service.
Goei also touted the Altice’s ability to deliver better data offloading, noting that the operator’s dense WiFi coverage will enable better handoff between networks.
And he added that a “light MVNO restricts the services you can offer and how you can market to customers … You might have to sell in bundles and might not be able to sell a standalone product.”