With Spectrum Mobile launch, Charter joins Comcast in MVNO space
Charter and Comcast are both using Verizon spectrum for mobile services
As traditional cable companies increasingly enter the wireless area and wireless companies look to leverage their networks to provide mobile video content, Charter Communications entered the fray June 30 with the launch of its Spectrum Mobile talk, text and data service.
Charter’s wireless play is what’s called a mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) and has many similarities with Comcast’s Xfinity Mobile service, including that both MVNOs use spectrum licensed by Verizon.
Charter’s plan offerings include free unlimited talk and text. For data, customers can opt to pay $45 per month for unlimited or $14 per gigabyte. Launch devices from Samsung and LG are available, according to the company. Xfinity Mobile pricing is the same $45 per month for unlimited or $12 per gigabyte.
Both cable companies are also leveraging their existing network of Wi-Fi hot spots to augment coverage and capacity of the LTE network.
Back in April, Charter CEO Thomas Rutledge said, during a conference call with investors, field trials were progressing ahead of commercialization and 5,000 employees were “going through an end-to-end sales activation of service process in May. We are building our sales channels and service capabilities including modifying several hundred of our 700 retail stores and setting up the call center environment. Ultimately the goal is to use our mobile service to attract and retain cable bundle multi-product customers,” the executive added.
Charter has had an MVNO option to operate on Verizon’s network in place for a number of years. Under the agreement, Charter can utilize Verizon’s wireless network together with Charter’s own Wi-Fi network to offer mobile services.
Further to the alignment with Comcast’s mobile services, the companies earlier this year signed an agreement to form a 50/50 operating platform partnership focused on the development and design of backend systems to support Comcast’s Xfinity Mobile and Charter’s Spectrum Mobile service.
Through the agreement, Charter and Comcast are working together to develop a scalable software platform, and related backend systems, which will power each company’s mobile-related customer sales and support platforms, device logistics and warehousing, and billing.