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A Look at Charter’s Wireless Strategy

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Charter’s focus on wireless

Charter Communications (CHTR) is becoming more focused on its wireless business. It’s planning to launch its wireless service in mid-2018 with the help of its MVNO (mobile virtual network operator) agreement with Verizon (VZ). It’s following in the footsteps of Comcast (CMCSA), which recently launched its wireless service, Xfinity Mobile. Charter has also formed a wireless alliance with Comcast to boost each company’s capability to compete in the wireless space.

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During the UBS Global Media and Communications Conference on December 4, 2017, Thomas Rutledge, Charter’s chair and CEO (chief executive officer), spoke about Charter’s wireless strategy. He stated, “We’ll get up to speed probably in ’19 with a real significant market impact. Not that we won’t be a significant player in ’18 and growing our mobile business, but in terms of the full complexity of the integration of the service into everything we do, I think it’s going to take some time.”

The two largest media companies, Charter and Comcast, have a reseller contract that empowers them to introduce their own wireless operations using Verizon’s network. Comcast’s Xfinity Mobile wireless service is based on Verizon’s infrastructure.

Growth in mobile video traffic

The increasing focus on the wireless business from media and telecommunication companies has been primarily due to growth in mobile video traffic. According to Cisco Systems’ (CSCO) VNI (Visual Networking Index), it is forecast that by the end of 2020, video could account for 77% of mobile data traffic in the United States (SPY).

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