WideOpenWest (WOW) will soon join a growing list of US cable operators that have added mobile to the broadband bundle.
But rather than striking a deal directly with a mobile network operator, WOW is instead hooking up with Reach Mobile, a mobile virtual network operator (MVNO). Reach Mobile tells Light Reading that the partnership with WOW is leveraging T-Mobile's network, and that the broader Reach platform is integrated with all major carriers in the US.
WOW said it plans to offer the service, which will be branded as "WOW! Mobile powered by Reach," at a discount to its base of high-speed Internet customers. WOW noted that it will also sell the co-branded mobile offering as a standalone.
WOW has not released specific pricing and packaging for the new offering. But WOW promised to offer a range of plans, enabling customers to receive up to $10 off their mobile bills and other savings when customers take multiple lines on certain plans.
A web site dedicated to the new offering indicates that the new bundle will be launched sometime this spring. The WOW/Reach Mobile no-contract service will include unlimited talk and text.
Reach Mobile offers a variety of usage-based plans (starting at 2 gigabytes for $20 per month), along with unlimited plans starting at $45 per month (25 gigabytes per month via 4G and 5G before shifting to 2G). Reach Mobile sells smartphones and offers bring-your-own-phone options. The company notes that it's integrated with more than 45 mobile operators worldwide and has 5 million daily active users.
The WOW-Reach Mobile deal is taking shape a couple months after Don Schena, WOW's chief customer experience officer, said the company was taking a "very close look" at a mobile strategy that could involve an MVNO partner.
WOW's mobile offering is coming together as the company moves ahead with a "broadband first" strategy focused on high-margin home broadband. The company also has announced a plan to expand fiber-to-the-premises (FTTP) networks to at least 200,000 homes and businesses by 2027, with the potential to expand that total to 400,000 locations.
Building the broadband/mobile bundle
WOW's plan to bundle home broadband with mobile shares some similarities with strategies underway at Comcast and Charter Communications, which have MVNO deals with Verizon, and Altice USA, which has teamed up with T-Mobile.
In the bulk of those cases, cable operators are using mobile to help gain and retain broadband customers. Those strategies have had some success early on, as Comcast, Charter and Altice USA now have a combined 7.7 mobile lines in service.
WOW's deal with Reach Mobile could portend similar deals to come among other small and midsized cable operators.
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— Jeff Baumgartner, Senior Editor, Light Reading