Kagan: How Altice USA can be successful with Optimum Mobile

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Why is the third largest cable TV company, Altice USA, changing the brand name of their wireless service from Altice Mobile to Optimum Mobile? Is it to stay in-sync with Xfinity Mobile and Spectrum Mobile? If so, why didn’t they start with that name? No, the answer is right there in front of us. We just have to see it.

One important challenge for Altice is to be successful in wireless. So far, while Xfinity Mobile and Spectrum Mobile have been showing growth, the Altice Mobile story is not as exciting. Yet anyway.

That’s why I think Altice is changing brand names after the cable TV wireless war has begun.

The real question is, will this move be successful? Will it help Altice be successful in wireless?

Why Xfinity Mobile, Spectrum Mobile are successful in wireless

This whole branding confusion started years ago when Comcast first created the new brand Xfinity. They then named their wireless service Xfinity Mobile.

This was the first re-branding of a cable TV company. The problem is they now have two brands, Comcast and Xfinity.

Next, Charter did the same by creating their new brand name Spectrum. They named their wireless service Spectrum Mobile.

Altice USA did the same thing creating the Optimum brand. However, they didn’t call their wireless operation Optimum Mobile. Instead, they named it Altice Mobile. This was curious.

Will changing name to Optimum Mobile help Altice succeed in wireless?

Now, Altice is changing the name of its wireless operation to Optimum Mobile. So, will this help them become successful in the wireless space?

No, it will not. It will not because the problem is not with the brand name. The real problem is the lack of successful marketing, PR, advertising and social media.

This is the weak link in the Altice chain. This is what needs to be strengthened.

So, the name was one difference between Comcast, Charter and Altice.

Another difference is the wireless carrier they resell. Why did Comcast and Charter choose to be an MVNO reseller of Verizon Wireless, and why did Altice go with Sprint?

Of course, when Comcast and Charter sold their wireless data spectrum to Comcast it was with the understanding, they would be able to use the service.

These are all good questions.

T-Mobile lost Dish wireless to AT&T Mobility

Since that time, things have changed. T-Mobile acquired Sprint. Now Altice resells T-Mobile service.

Are they happy?

Well, Dish was also an MVNO reseller of T-Mobile, but just got fed up with the relationship and switched to AT&T Mobility.

Could that mean Altice will also make a similar change and move to resell either Verizon Wireless or AT&T Mobility? Perhaps.

Lots of questions. We will have to just wait and watch to see the answers to these questions.

However, one question that is nagging at me is this; why did Altice change the name of their wireless service to Optimum Mobile?

I think it must have to do with their lack of success in wireless. They must think a new name will translate into sales and put them on the same track as Xfinity Mobile and Spectrum Mobile.

While this of course may happen, I think the Altice problem is more than skin deep.

Changing name to Optimum Mobile won’t solve Altice problem

I think that Altice must fix their real problem, and that is not the brand name.

The real problem has to do with marketing, public relations, advertising and social media. While Comcast and Charter have done a better job, Altice is struggling in these areas.

They don’t seem to understand the importance of successfully developing and growing the kind of name and brand recognition and customer loyalty that is necessary to win.

This has always been the cable TV problem. This is one of the key reasons why the new and untarnished brands Xfinity, Spectrum and Optimum were developed.

The idea was to take the customers attention away from the Comcast, Charter and Altice brands, which users did not like.

Cable TV companies distracted users with new brand names

You see, cable TV never had to compete, so they never took care of the customers. This led to poor customer relationships. They never learned how to fix that problem, so they created a new brand name to hide it.

They always had a market, and their customers had no choice. So, they never really learned the lessons of a competitive market until recent years.

Recently, the cable television industry has been put to the test. Both Comcast and Charter struggled in the early years with Xfinity and Spectrum.

They still have a way to go, but they have experienced success with their new brand names. And this success has translated into their wireless operations, Xfinity Mobile and Spectrum Mobile.

That’s what Altice is hoping to duplicate.

Optimum brand not as successful as Xfinity and Spectrum

The problem is Altice created Optimum, but that new brand name has not caught on like Xfinity and Spectrum. They have not spent the time and money to cultivate a solid relationship with their users.

That’s what Altice should be focused on.

They need to develop and grow the Optimum brand in the marketplace. They should focus on the customer. They should create an emotional and positive relationship with them.

Altice can follow T-Mobile example for success

Altice can be successful, if they understand the challenge they face and take the steps to win.

They can look to T-Mobile as an example. Several years ago, T-Mobile US was a company who was dying on the vine. They missed the shift from 2G to 3G. They were lost as AT&T, Verizon and Sprint adopted the iPhone, Android and really showed growth.

At their lowest point they brought in a new CEO who punched their way onto the map once again and single-handedly saved them. Not only did he save T-Mobile, but they became a strong competitor in the industry.

It didn’t happen overnight, but it did happen.

Optimum Mobile can succeed if Altice understands the secret

Altice can do the same thing if they understand the steps they need to take. The only question I have is do they understand?

I like Altice. I want them to be successful in cable TV, Internet and wireless. However, they need to understand the real problem. The real problem is not the brand name of their wireless service.

The real problem is a soft and weak brand relationship with the user. That’s what needs to be strengthened. This can only be done with successful and new marketing, advertising and PR.

The steps Altice needs to take are much more important and impactful than simply changing the brand name of their wireless service from Altice Mobile to Optimum Mobile and hoping for the best.

This is a fine first step, but without increasing the brand value of the name Optimum, nothing will change.

This is the key secret Altice must understand in order to win going forward.

About Author

Jeff is a RCR Wireless News Columnist, Industry Analyst, Key Opinion Leader and Influencer. He shares his colorful perspectives and opinions on the companies and technologies that are transforming the industry he has followed for 35 years. Jeff follows wireless, wire line telecom, Internet, Pay-TV, cable TV, AI, IoT, Digital Healthcare, Cloud, Mobile Pay, Smart cities, Smart Homes and more.

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