Altice USA drops 35K pay-TV users in Q1, but U.S. cable revenue beats broader company performance

Altice USA
In its earnings release, Altice outlined U.S. plans to deploy a fiber-to-the-home network. Image: Altice USA

French telecom conglomerate Altice NV reported 3.2% revenue growth in the first quarter to €5.93 billion ($6.46 billion), with its recent U.S. cable acquisitions Cablevision (now called Optimum) and Suddenlink driving quarterly revenue growth of 3.2% and 5.3%, respectively. 

Keeping with the broader pay-TV industry’s cord-cutting trend, Optimum lost about 15,000 video customers during the first quarter, ending the period with a remaining base of 2.41 million. Suddenlink lost around 20,000 pay-TV subscribers and now has a base of 1.08 million

Optimum, however, added 37,000 high-speed internet users during the period, while Suddenlink added 22,000.

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Revenue from residential broadband services was up 16.8% year over year at Suddenlink and 8.8% at Optimum, with 66% percent of Altice U.S. broadband customers now paying for download speeds of 100 Mbps or higher. In January 2015, only around 15% of the combined Optimum/Suddenlink footprint took speeds that high, the company said. 

Notably, capital expenditures were down significantly in the U.S., with capex declining 24% year over year at Optimum and 35% at Suddenlink. Altice NV, which paid $17.7 for Optimum and $9.1 billion for a controlling interest in Suddenlink, closed on both purchases last spring, promising investors major cuts in operational costs. 

In its earnings release, Altice outlined U.S. plans to deploy a FTTH network, and broadband speeds up to 10 Gbps, to all of the Optimum footprint, and a portion of Suddenlink customers over the next five years. 

The company also said it will deploy its hybrid pay-TV set-top, cable modem and Wi-Fi router, originally dubbed “The Box,” in the second quarter.

“We believe this investment will significantly improve our competitive position in the U.S. video market,” Altice said in its earnings release.