Cable Tech

Churn Could Singe Comcast's Broadband & Video Q2 Results – Analyst

Comcast's broadband adds and video losses will struggle a bit in Q2, reflecting typically high churn seen in the period, even as its mobile product reaches a "steady state," analysts with Nomura predicted in a research note.

As part of its "modest revisions" for Comcast, Nomura expects the cable operator to add about 190,000 high-speed Internet subs in Q2, down from an originally expected 280,000. While those Q2 additions would be relatively flat on a year-over-year basis, Nomura is reducing its forecast in part to the fact that last year's results were aided by the rollout of the MSO's advanced gateways and the company's general pivot to "connectivity" and less emphasis on its pay-TV products.

Nomura also does not believe Comcast is sending much competitive pressure from AT&T's fiber build nor from emerging mobile/wireless broadband rivals.

Those analysts also expect Comcast's net video losses to rise from an originally expected 126,000, to 190,000, noting that most video subs tend to purchase a bundled product.

Comcast and other video service providers typically turn in weak Q2 results that are marked by the churning out of college students and "snowbirds" that make moves for the summer.

Xfinity Mobile, Comcast's mobile product that leans heavily on an MVNO relationship with Verizon Wireless, "has reached a steady state," with an expected 200,000 net adds expected for Q2, up from about 170,000 net adds in Q1 2019.

However, Nomura also wonders if churn will be on the rise as the low-hanging fruit as Comcast's opportunity with its per-Gigabyte option begins to dissipate. Comcast also offers a mobile plan with unlimited data, but has said that the majority of Xfinity Mobile customers take its by-the-Gig option.

But if the expectations hold up, Comcast, which launched Xfinity Mobile in May 2017, should end Q2 with about 1.6 million mobile lines.

Comcast is scheduled to post Q2 results on the morning of Thursday, July 25.

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— Jeff Baumgartner, Senior Editor, Light Reading

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