Altice USA and Sprint Corp. recently announced that the former will sell its mobile service using Sprint’s network under a new multi-year agreement, according to a Reuters report. The partnership makes Altice the most recent company to enter the wireless market in an effort to keep its customers. The announcement comes a day after Sprint ended its merger talks with T-Mobile.
The agreement states Altice, the country’s fourth-largest cable operator, will utilize Sprint’s network to provide voice and data services in the U.S. There is currently no time table for when these services will be made available. Sprint now can use Altice’s cable infrastructure to transmit cellular data and work to create a next-generation network or 5G.
When Sprint and T-Mobile called off their merger talks, Sprint had to figure out a turnaround on its own. The carrier’s majority owner, SoftBank Group Corp plans to increase its state in Sprint, but it would maintain ownership of outstanding common stock less than 85 percent. This move would sidestep triggering an tender offer for the leftover shares. Currently, SoftBank owns approximately 82 percent of Sprint.
Altice’s decision to enter this deal is not uncommon. U.S. cable companies are moving into the wireless market for a few reasons; one is to package or more services in order to reduce customer defections as many consumers are “cutting the cord.” For example, Comcast Corp. began to sell wireless service on Verizon Communication, Inc.’s network while Charter Communications has plans to launch service in 2018.
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