We’ve known for a while that Charter is planning on launching a new wireless service, using a mixture of Wi-Fi hotspots and Verizon’s network, but we just got more details. According to DSL Reports, Charter’s new wireless service will launch on June 30th, at least that’s the current plan.
Pricing will mirror what Comcast is already doing for its own MVNO, Xfinity Wireless. That shouldn’t come as a surprise, given that the two companies have struck an agreement to cooperate on some areas of wireless service, but it’s broadly speaking good news.
Xfinity Mobile offers a mix of cheap unlimited or pay-as-you-go plans that offer significant savings over Verizon’s own plans. It’s a good deal: $45 per month for unlimited data, which includes unlimited talk, text, and a soft cap of 20GB of data. It’s much better than Verizon’s pricing for unlimited, which goes from $75 to $85 for one line, depending on what features you want. There’s also a pay-what-you-want $12-per-GB option. From the sounds of things, Spectrum Wireless’s plans will mirror this pricing.
FCC filings also indicate that Charter may have bigger ambitions than just MVNO operations. “The wireless component of Charter’s network is transitioning from a nomadic Wi-Fi network to one that that supports full mobility by incorporating Wi-Fi with multiple 4G and 5G access technologies to deliver a seamless connectivity experience,” Charter said in the filing. “In navigating this transition, Charter is emphasizing an ‘Inside-Out’ strategy, focusing first on wireless solutions inside the home and office, and then eventually expanding outdoors.”
The one bad piece of news is that T-Mobile might use Charter’s launch of a wireless network to claim that the cellular industry is plenty competitive as is, and that its proposed merger with Sprint wouldn’t harm competition. But although Xfinity Mobile and Charter’s services might come under a different name, they’re no threat.
In fact, during its most recent earnings call just a few months ago,T-Mobile CEO John Legere put some of his so-called competitors on blast.“[Xfinity Mobile] is very irrelevant, and I would assume Charter will be irrelevant squared,” Legere said. “I would say the furthest thing from my mind is any concern about the impact of cable.”