Charter CFO Winfrey: MVNO deal will help MSO monetize the 70-80% of wireless traffic cable controls 


Explaining his company’s decision to execute an MVNO deal with Verizon, Charter Communications CFO Christopher Winfrey said the cable industry is handling most wireless traffic but not being compensated. 

“Maybe 70 to 80 percent of wireless traffic is happening over our Wi-Fi network, but none of [the revenue] is coming to us,” Winfrey told investors today at the Deutsche Bank Leveraged Finance Conference.

Beyond being able to monetize its Wi-Fi networks more efficiently, Winfrey believes a wireless launch with limited ambition has value in growing Charter’s core products.

“Do we need to build out macro cell networks? No. But is there value to having MVNO agreements over time? Maybe … It’s ability to sell more cable or retain more cable.”

Last week, Charter Chairman and CEO Tom Rutledge revealed that Charter has asked Verizon to execute on a 2011 MVNO agreement, inherited when Charter purchased Time Warner Cable.

Speaking on the Time Warner Cable and Bright House Networks integrations, meanwhile, Winfrey said the rebranding, repricing and repackaging of services in Time Warner Cable footprints should be done by the middle of next year.

Charter has already begun rolling out new “Spectrum-branded” bundles in California and Texas, which have already undergone digital conversion. “It’s not as disruptive as going all-digital,” he said.

Because of that, Charter will repackage and reprice certain analog territories before they are converted to digital. 

“We would rather get in front of customers with a pricing and packing set that allows us to upgrade in a better way,” he said. “We’ll then go in and do an all-digital upgrade with two-way boxes, which make us competitive and superior to satellite.”

While Charter is still digesting its newly purchased TWC and Bright House assets, Winfrey added that the company wasn’t adversed to more M&A.

“If we see an opportunity to make DMA more efficient — if we’re able to acquire those types of properties at fair price, then we’re just as incentivized to do a deal as we were before,” he said. 

For more:
- visit this Charter investor relations page

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