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Optical/IP Networks

Starry adds record subs in Q2 as total nears 81,000

Starry, a fixed wireless access (FWA) operator mainly focused on the multiple-dwelling unit (MDU) market, said it added a record 9,703 customers in the second quarter of 2022. That put Starry's grand total at 80,950 customers, up 69.4% from the year-ago period.

Starry's footprint also expanded – the company ended the quarter with 5.7 million serviceable homes, about 1 million more than what it had in the year-ago quarter. Starry's penetration in its serviceable footprint reached 1.42% in Q2 2022, up from 1.01% in Q2 2021.

CEO Chet Kanojia estimates that Starry executed between 10,500 to 11,000 'drops' per month in the past quarter.  
(Source: Starry. Used with permission)
CEO Chet Kanojia estimates that Starry executed between 10,500 to 11,000 "drops" per month in the past quarter.
(Source: Starry. Used with permission)

Those were the main takeaways from operational Q2 2022 results released this week. Starry expects to file its full financial results for Q2 when the market opens on August 9.

Chet Kanojia, Starry's co-founder and CEO, chalked up the subscriber gains to general execution and overall demand for services, but noted that fresh capital coming in the door in the first quarter of the year enabled the company to amp up some of its sales efforts.

"Typically Q2 tends to be softer for most [broadband service providers], but we've been seeing a lot of demand," Kanojia told Light Reading. "The other thing I would attribute [customer growth] to is that the market is shifting towards value in the sense of people having concerns about inflationary conditions and prices ... People are looking for more rationally-priced alternatives [and] a product set that is continuing to meet and exceed their needs in that sense."

Starry currently offers a set of uncapped symmetrical broadband tiers: 200 Mbit/s for $50 per month; 500 Mbit/s for $65 per month; and 1-Gig for $80 per month.

Experimenting with personalized broadband

Kanojia also shed some additional light on more personalized broadband options that are in the works.

He said Starry is starting to experiment with a way for customers to customize how much data they are getting in the downlink and uplink, based on their usage patterns. After that, Starry will start to focus on latency-sensitive options for segments of the market, such as online gamers. He expects Starry to have a "full mix and match capability" for such options toward the end of the year as it gathers more data and responses from customers.

Kanojia said the big challenge there is not technology-oriented, but in how Starry guides customers through that process and how those options are being presented to them.

"At the end of the day, personalization is interesting, but the vast majority of customers don't fully understand what they actually need," he said. "How that visual experience works in front of the consumers is where the work is really."

Starry is also making a commitment to avoid price hikes. "My goal really is to continue to drive cost per bit down and keeping prices flat as consumption increases for these consumers," he said.

On the buildout front, Kanojia estimates that Starry did between 10,500 to 11,000 "drops" per month in the past quarter, with each drop equivalent to a newly-activated apartment building.

Serving MDUs will remain Starry's core focus, but the company is starting to try out service to single-family homes in Columbus, Ohio. Kanojia expects Starry will target about 2% of its passings per year to the single-family homes segment.

Expansion update

In addition to Columbus, Starry has lit up service in parts of Boston, New York City, Los Angeles, Washington, DC, and Denver. Kanojia said Starry will soon announce a new market that will come online sometime in the second half of 2022.

Kanojia acknowledged that Starry, which debuted on the New York Stock Exchange on March 29, will need more capital to fulfill its buildout initiatives. "There's a lot of active, ongoing discussions and conversations both on partnership fronts and additional capital coming in," he said. "We feel good about it and we're making progress."

MoffettNathanson believes Starry will need another $1 billion to fund its ambitious growth plan. Those analysts currently expect Starry to reach 13.29 million serviceable homes passed and have 649,000 subs by 2026.

MoffettNathanson this week initiated Starry with an "outperform" rating and a price target of $11. Starry shares were down 19 cents (5.83%) to $3.07 in late morning trading Wednesday.

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— Jeff Baumgartner, Senior Editor, Light Reading

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