Rutledge: Charter has asked Verizon to activate MVNO agreement

Charter Communications CEO Tom Rutledge (Credit: Charter)

Charter Communications has asked Verizon to activate the MVNO agreement it inherited when it closed its purchase of Time Warner Cable earlier this year. 

“We’ve told Verizon we’re interested in the MVNO agreement — we’ve asked to activate it. We’d like to pursue that relationship,” said Charter chief executive Tom Rutledge, speaking Wednesday at Goldman Sachs’ 25th Annual Communacopia Conference.

Charter’s execution of the MVNO agreement has been widely anticipated since Comcast activated its own end of the same MVNO deal with Verizon last year. Earlier this week, on the same stage, Comcast chief exec Brian Roberts said that agreement will be the foundation of a Comcast wireless service that will launch by the middle of 2017.

“To get from where we are to true mobility require use of our Wi-Fi network, it will require the relationships we have with MVNOs, and we’ll have to build out our network at some point in the future,” Rutledge said.

The “value proposition,” he explained will be the enticement a wireless offering will have for the 25 million non-customers existing in Charter’s recently enhanced footprint — a mobile plan, he said, makes Charter’s bundle even more attractive to this customer base.

“As we get down the road, we’ll see where it evolves. That’s where we get to 6G,” Rutledge added. 

Verizon in 2011 purchased AWS-1 spectrum from Bright House Networks, Comcast, Cox and TWC (a group dubbed SpectrumCo) and in return gave those companies access to its wireless network for use in a potential MVNO offering. Comcast late last year said it activated its MVNO agreement with Verizon, and is expected to begin testing some kind of wireless service later this year. Indeed, Comcast last month promoted Greg Butz, executive vice president of sales and marketing, to head up its new Comcast Mobile division.

While shedding light on Charter’s mobile plans, Rutledge re-iterated his company’s desire to integrate Netflix into its video user interface.

“We’d like to put Netflix and other [SVOD] services into our UI, so our customers can operate them seamlessly with our products,” he said. “Our primary objective is to follow the customer wherever they go.”

Rutledge said 57 percent of Charter’s pay-TV users also subscribe to Netflix. 

For more:
- visit this Charter investor relations site

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