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Why Charter’s Capex Is Expected to Be Lower in 2019

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Jun. 13 2019, Published 11:11 a.m. ET

Charter’s capex

Charter Communications (CHTR) has been consistently spending on capex to improve its network. The company expects its capex to be lower this year than last year, mainly due to its completion of all-digital and DOCSIS 3.1 upgrades. Charter expects its 2019 cable capex to be ~$7.0 billion compared to $8.9 billion in 2018.

In the first quarter, Charter spent $1.7 billion on capex compared to $2.2 billion in the first quarter of 2018. This ~23.7% YoY (year-over-year) reduction in capital spending was mostly the result of lower expenditure on customer-premise equipment and scalable infrastructure. However, the company spent $0.32 billion on line extensions in the first quarter compared to $0.29 billion in the first quarter of 2018.

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Peer comparison

In comparison, Charter’s peer Frontier Communications’ (FTR) capex came in at $0.31 billion in the first quarter, and it expects to see capex of ~$1.15 billion in 2019. Comcast (CMCSA), on the other hand, saw total capital spending of $2.1 billion in the first quarter, and it expects net capex of $11.0 billion in 2019.

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