Charter Communications aims to to launch a MVNO through a partnership with Verizon
U.S. cable operator Charter Communications expects to launch mobile services through a mobile virtual network operator by mid-year, the operator’s chairman and CEO, Thomas Rutledge, said during a recent conference call with investors.
“We remain on track to launch our new services by mid-year under our MVNO agreement with Verizon. We recently launched a field trial, which includes 5,000 employees who are going through an end-to-end sales activation of service process in May,” Rutledge said.
“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 will utilize Verizon’s wireless network together with Charter’s own Wi-Fi network to offer mobile services. Earlier this month, Charter signed an agreement with Comcast 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 will work 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. The operating platform developed by the partnership will serve as the systems interface for current and future MVNO partners, the two companies said.
“In the partnership we signed with Comcast … will accelerate our ability to scale our MVNO service offerings, by stepping into a proven MVNO back office platform and improve the economics of our emerging mobile business. While our entry into mobile is new, we’re already a wireless operator today with over 250 million authenticated wireless devices connected to our deployed small cell network,” Rutledge said.
In January this year, Charter said it was carrying out 5G testing in a move to use fixed wireless services to expand coverage. 5G tests took place in Orlando, Florida; Reno, Nevada; Clarksville, Tennessee; Columbus, Ohio; Bakersfield, California and Grand Rapids, Michigan.
Charter has been also greenlighted to carry out 5G tests in the 28GHz band using equipment from Swedish vendor Ericsson. The cable operator said it wants to use 25 units of experimental equipment from the vendor in the form of antennas mounted on hydraulic masts attached to trailers and vans.
The cable operator highlighted that the deployment of 5G technologies using lower-frequency bands, can help deliver wireline-like internet speeds in rural areas.