Our Analysts

Every day, our analysts keep constant watch over all activity in the communications industry and analyze and report on the changes affecting your business. Browse our latest analyst insights now.

Charter-TWC deal has a strong wireless signal

By Karen Brown, Jun 15, 2015

Among the many advantages presented with the proposed combination of

Charter Communications, Time Warner Cable and Bright House Networks is

that it will add more momentum to the MSOs wireless ambitions. 

During the May 26 call to discuss the deal, Charter CEO Tom Rutledge was

asked about the many synergies resulting from the union of the three MSOs.

In addition to serving a wider pool of enterprise business customers “we

also have the opportunity to work across the industry to use our Wi-Fi

networks, which are interoperable and allow customers to roam from one to

the other and have services across the various platforms that exist,” he said.

“I think in this structure we’ll be able to make those kinds of opportunities

work better and easier, just because you will have less people that you have

to coordinate with in order to make those new products work. So while we

haven’t really considered those as part of our evaluation, I think there is a

better industry as a result of this combination.” 

Much of that energy will come from Time Warner Cable. The MSO in early

June announced it had expanded its outdoor Wi-Fi hotspot networks in

Dallas, San Antonio and Raleigh, N.C. And under a deal struck last year,

Time Warner Cable customers have access to more than 100 Boingo

hotpots located at the largest U.S. airports.

In all, it has 100,000 hotspots across its market footprint, and as part of the

Cable WiFi partnership with Comcast, Cablevision, Bright House and Cox

its customers have access to more than 400,000 hotspots throughout the

United States. 

Up to now, Charter has not focused as much on extending Wi-Fi hotspot

services. It does offer residential customers Spectrum Wi-Fi, banking on

public hotspot services it has sold to Spectrum Business customers. That

may only amount to a few thousand locations, however. 

But that will change if the three-way merger is consummated. The New

Charter will be a member of the Cable WiFi partnership, and its legacy

Charter residential customers will gain access to the full 400,000-plus

Wi-Fi network. 

In the conference call, Rutledge — who also helped craft Cablevision’s

ambitious public Wi-Fi hotspot rollout when he served as chief operating

officer there — indicated the Wi-Fi opportunities expanded beyond just

the existing partnership.

As for wireless “yes, we will be expanding our wireless footprint and

building out our Wi-Fi networks in a public way so that people can use our

products in mobile and sedentary applications outside of their residence

and businesses,” he said. “And from that will come additional opportunities

to create new subscriber relationships that may be based entirely on

mobility. But I think that’s a long-term opportunity of the industry and one

that is enhanced by this combination.”