Cable Tech

US Cable has strong hand in mobile, says Recon Analytics' Roger Entner

Roger Entner, the founder and lead analyst of Recon Analytics and all-around mobile industry expert, believes cable is well positioned to keep growing the mobile side of its business.

"When you look at cable, they're coming in with a very attractive price position – we give you wireless and home Internet for the same price that the big guys charge you for wireless alone," says Entner, who recently joined the Light Reading Podcast with editors Jeff Baumgartner and Mike Dano. "And that is a very appealing proposition. They're very consistent."

Indeed, Comcast and Charter Communications have just come off a third quarter in which they added a record 729,000 mobile lines, extending their grand total to 9.61 million. As home broadband subscriber growth slows, mobile has clearly become their new success story.

Altice USA's mobile service, coming way of a new MVNO deal with T-Mobile, has had more limited success, but the operator is still adding mobile lines. Meanwhile, Cox Communications and WideOpenWest have just entered the game, and the National Content & Technology Cooperative (NCTC) is crafting MVNO deals that will enable its membership of 700-plus independent cable operators and telcos to enter the mobile mix as well.

Entner is also keen on Spectrum One, Charter's new promo that provides attractive 12-month pricing on bundles that tie together home broadband and mobile. "It lasts only a year," Entner said of the promotion, "but it's a really strong decision."

He also shared his thoughts on network and service convergence. It will happen, he predicts, but don't expect it to come about through big waves of M&A in today's regulatory environment.

"The convergence from an experience perspective will happen," he said. "The convergence from an M&A perspective – I think a bunch of people in Washington, DC, have a lot more to say about that than people in Philadelphia, Stamford, Seattle, Baskin Ridge or Dallas."

You can download a lightly edited transcript of the podcast here. If you want to skip around and listen, here are a few topics discussed during this podcast:

  • An update on Entner's background covering the wireless/mobile industry (1:45)
  • Why he is not surprised at cable's success so far in mobile, given the "very appealing proposition" they offer to the market (03:29)
  • Why Entner believes Charter's new 'Spectrum One' promotion that ties together home broadband and mobile lines is poised for success (5:00)
  • Why he believes cable's growth in mobile still has plenty of runway, and an updated prediction on how much runway remains (6:45)
  • Why history shows that cable ops won't need to adorn their mobile offers with a lot of perks and bells and whistles to attract new customers (9:30)
  • How the cable industry can use Wi-Fi and CBRS traffic offloading not only to drive down MVNO costs, but also to drive more innovation on the product side (18:20)
  • Entner's thoughts on how network and service convergence will take hold, and why he thinks it's unlikely that it will come together through more massive M&A activity (22:50)
  • How millimeter wave and midband spectrum will impact how fixed wireless access (FWA) services can (or might not) scale in urban and rural settings (28:00)
  • Does the smaller, independent segment of the US cable market have a true opportunity to be successful in mobile? (32:00)

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    — Jeff Baumgartner, Senior Editor, Light Reading

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