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Charter to reduce mobile video streaming resolution for some customersCharter to reduce mobile video streaming resolution for some customers

In order to reduce its network-usage payments to Verizon, Charter confirmed it will change the default video streaming resolution for its Unlimited Plus mobile customers to 480p from 720p starting in December.

Mike Dano

November 21, 2023

2 Min Read
Spectrum store interior display
(Source: Charter Communications)

Charter Communications confirmed to Light Reading it will lower the default video streaming resolution for its Unlimited Plus mobile customers to 480p from 720p starting in December.

Charter's default setting for customers on its other By The Gig and Unlimited mobile plans is already set at 480p. 

The company said its Unlimited Plus mobile customers can change their default streaming setting back from 480p to 720p using the company's My Spectrum App for no extra charge. Further, the change will not affect customers who are connected to Wi-Fi.

When customers are on Wi-Fi, the video streaming resolution among Charter's Spectrum Mobile customers is determined by the format of the video content the customer is streaming and the capabilities and settings of their device, according to the company.

Charter did not disclose the number of customers the change will affect.

"This change will not impact gross [customer] adds or churn unless Spectrum is seeing more customers share their iPhone screens on larger TVs (and therefore devalue linear video even further)," wrote Jim Patterson of Patterson Advisory Group in his weekly newsletter. "We clearly understand why Spectrum would reset the default to 480p (roughly 3 Mbit/s) from 720p (roughly 5 Mbit/s), but that doesn't mean that we have to embrace the change."

Charter's Spectrum Mobile service piggybacks on Verizon's mobile network, and Charter has been clear in its strategy to reduce its network-usage payments to Verizon. For example, the company has designed its mobile service to connect to Spectrum Wi-Fi hotspots where available, and Charter is also planning to build a small-scale wireless network in select cities using its 3.5GHz CBRS spectrum.

Comcast, another cable company that offers mobile services through Verizon's network, has already switched on its own CBRS mobile network in Philadelphia.

Charter and Comcast have enjoyed significant successes in the mobile industry. According to a new report, US cable companies collectively represented nearly half (49.2%) of all mobile phone net additions in the third quarter of this year, up from 32.3% in the year-ago quarter.

Charter specifically added another 594,000 mobile lines in the third quarter, up from 396,000 in the year-ago quarter, for a total of 7.22 million mobile customers. The figures put the company on a path to pass Dish Network as the nation's largest MVNO. Charter's mobile line growth has been accelerated by an aggressive pricing and growth strategy, aided in part by a Spectrum One promotion that offers a free line of mobile service for a year.

About the Author(s)

Mike Dano

Editorial Director, 5G & Mobile Strategies

Mike Dano is Light Reading's Editorial Director, 5G & Mobile Strategies. Mike can be reached at [email protected], @mikeddano or on LinkedIn.

Based in Denver, Mike has covered the wireless industry as a journalist for almost two decades, first at RCR Wireless News and then at FierceWireless and recalls once writing a story about the transition from black and white to color screens on cell phones.

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