Altice USA pitches free or discounted mobile lines through ACP

Complementing its work with home broadband, Altice USA has joined Comcast in supporting mobile options under the FCC's Affordable Connectivity Program.

Jeff Baumgartner, Senior Editor

December 16, 2022

4 Min Read
Altice USA pitches free or discounted mobile lines through ACP

Showing again that the lines between wireless and wired connectivity are blurring in the world of cable, Altice USA has become the latest US operator to apply mobile service benefits to its implementation of the FCC's Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP).

Complementing its home broadband support for ACP, Altice USA said it is now offering free or discounted lines of mobile service to customers who qualify for the subsidy program for low-income households. The ACP benefit provides a discount of up to $30 per month toward Internet service for eligible households and up to $75 per month for households on qualifying tribal lands. But that benefit is also being extended to mobile by a small group of cable operators that offer such services.

Here's how Altice USA's ACP mobile benefit stacks up by service level:

Free* with ACP

Free* with ACP

$15/month* with ACP

$25 per month* with ACP

1GB

3GB

Unlimited

Unlimited Max; regularly

Regularly $15 per month

Regularly $15 per month

Regularly $45 per month

Regularly $55 per month

Light user

Moderate user

Heavy user

Always connected

1GB premium data, unlimited talk and text and 5G access at no additional cost

3GB premium data, unlimited talk and text and 5G access at no additional cost

20GB premium data, unlimited talk and text, 5G hotspot, 5G access at no additional cost

50GB premium data, unlimited talk and text, 15GB hotspot, 5G access at no additional cost

Altice USA's mobile service is underpinned by a revised MVNO deal with T-Mobile announced in March. Altice USA added 5,000 mobile lines in Q3 2022 for a total of 236,000. The company estimates that mobile penetration reached about 5.5% of its residential broadband base at the end of the period.

Figure 1: (Source: ZUMA Press, Inc./Alamy Stock Photo) (Source: ZUMA Press, Inc./Alamy Stock Photo)

"We continue to be champions of the ACP and its goal to close the connectivity gap for customers across the country and look forward to now providing eligible consumers with the ability to reduce the cost of their fixed or mobile services through the program," Matthew Grover, EVP at Optimum (Altice USA's consumer brand), said in a statement.

Mobilizing on mobile

Altice USA's ACP expansion into mobile takes shape as US cable operators become increasingly active (and successful) in mobile. Led by Comcast, Charter Communications and Altice USA, US cable nabbed a 31% share of industry phone net adds in Q3 2022, according to MoffettNathanson (a unit of SVB Securities). Collectively that trio added 734,000 net wireless lines in the period, ending it with a grand total of 9.86 million lines.

Comcast also has added a mobile option to its ACP implementation. Comcast, which has an MVNO relationship with Verizon, also offers a credit of up to $30 per month toward Internet and mobile services (and, again up to $75 per month for qualified households on tribal lands) through ACP.

According to the fine print, if Comcast customers who qualify for ACP have both Internet and mobile service, the ACP benefit will first be applied to the Internet portion of their bill, with any remaining ACP benefit applied to Xfinity Mobile services. Notably, ACP benefits can't be used for Xfinity Mobile device payments and the Xfinity Mobile protection plan.

Among other cable operators, Charter Communications, Cox Communications and WideOpenWest also offer mobile services in certain US markets. But, at last check, they do not appear to offer a mobile benefit under their respective ACP implementations. Light Reading has asked them if they intend to make any future alterations that add mobile to the ACP mix.

As of December 5, about 15 million US households were enrolled in ACP. Congress is under pressure about the financial future of program, which is projected to run out of funding by 2025 if no further action is taken.

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— Jeff Baumgartner, Senior Editor, Light Reading

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About the Author(s)

Jeff Baumgartner

Senior Editor, Light Reading

Jeff Baumgartner is a Senior Editor for Light Reading and is responsible for the day-to-day news coverage and analysis of the cable and video sectors. Follow him on X and LinkedIn.

Baumgartner also served as Site Editor for Light Reading Cable from 2007-2013. In between his two stints at Light Reading, he led tech coverage for Multichannel News and was a regular contributor to Broadcasting + Cable. Baumgartner was named to the 2018 class of the Cable TV Pioneers.

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