Under the agreement, Altice will provide mobile voice and data service to USA customers and Sprint will leverage Altice's broadband platform to upgrade its network, the company said.
Sprint CFO Tarek Robiatti made a clarifying statement that the company's recently announced mutual benefit deal with cable company Altice USA would have happened with or without the proposed merger with T-Mobile failing. The agreement will also allow Sprint to use the Altice cable infrastructure to send cellular data and to develop its 5G network. Financial terms were not disclosed.
Both Comcast and Charter have entered the wireless business by mixing an MVNO arrangement with No. 1 US wireless company Verizon with their own Wi-Fi networks. Comcast's Xfinity Mobile wireless service debuted earlier this year and has about 200,000 customers so far, while Charter is slated to launch its own wireless service utilizing Verizon's network in the second quarter of 2018.
This deal, while interesting for both sides, comes off right after the merger talks between T-Mobile and Sprint officially ended.
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Offering wireless service, as well as high-speed internet and television, could be of help to the cable companies in maintaining subscribers, as many are dropping pay-TV for online options that are less expensive.
For now, it is not clear that when the company will enter the wireless market, according to a company spokeswoman.
"As content and connectivity continue to converge, we believe this approach will be a model for future strategic arrangements across multiple industries including cable, tech and others", Sprint CEO Marcelo Claure said in a statement. Partnering with Altice should enable Sprint to leverage that spectrum more quickly while minimizing spending on its network.
Altice USA has 4.9 million residential broadband and pay TV customers, having coalesced past year when Europe's Altice NV closed on its separate purchases of Cablevision and Suddenlink Communications. It also offers cellular service in some countries, including Israel, France, and Portugal.