Altice USA dropped contracts and bundles after rival Verizon rolled out a more flexible way for customers to purchase broadband, mobile and TV services from its Optimum and Suddenlink brands.
The new approach is called Optimum FlexAbility and allows customers to purchase either one or more services at any time and change their plan choices. Altice USA listed the offer as “risk-free” and noted that there is no charge to downgrade to a lower level for any service, there is no annual contract, and customers who sign up receive a 60-day money-back guarantee.
“We know that no two households are alike, and Optimum FlexAbility lets customers choose the right services for them with the ability to change their plan as their needs evolve,” said Matt Marino, Altice USA’s EPP for Consumer Services, to Fierce.
Broadband options on the table include 100 Mbps, 300 Mbps, 500 Mbps and 1-gig service levels, while mobile plans offer 1 GB, 3 GB or unlimited data. Instead of offering a discount for multiple mobile lines, Altice said prices are consistent for each line added.
TV packages range from a basic broadcast offering with local news to more inclusive options with sports, entertainment and children’s content, with streaming offered as an alternative. Prices for TV options now include the cost of a set-top box rental.
Internet costs range from $ 29.99 per person. Month for the 300 Mbps package for $ 49.99 for 1-gig service. Mobile prices start at $ 14 per person. Month for 1 GB data plan and goes up to $ 45 for unlimited. And finally, traditional TV packages range from $ 29 per person. Month for Optimum Basic with 50+ channels for $ 94 for Premier with 420+ channels, including HBO Max, Starz and Showtime and more. The Stream TV setting is $ 5 per. Month, or for free with the 1-gig internet setting.
Altice’s gameplay is strikingly similar to Verizon’s Mix & Match strategy, which originally included its mobile-limited data plans before being expanded in January 2020 to include custom broadband and TV services. Like Altice’s new offering, Verizon’s Mix & Match program eliminated annual contracts.
During Verizon’s earnings call in Q2 2021, CEO Hans Vestberg said the Mix & Match campaign has “led to strong results across” both its wireless and Fios offerings.
Last month, Verizon’s consumer group leader Ronan Dunne noted at an investor conference that the program “continues to resonate strongly” with customers. He added, “customers are staying longer and they are spending more with us. So we are seeing real ARPU and ARPA growth. And I think the quality of the experience plus the choices within the proposal are what drives it . ”
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The move comes as Altice appears to be reviving additions to broadband subscribers and kicking off its haunting wireless MVNO business following the sudden departure of Altice’s COO and telecommunications chief in September.
“It looks like new management has new ideas,” said Recon Analytics founder Roger Entner. He noted Optimum FlexAbility’s similarity to Verizon’s Mix & Match program, but said it’s not necessarily surprising that Altice is following suit given that Verizon “has been pretty successful with their offerings” and many of Altice’s previous Cablevision – markets “taste in the middle of Verizon markets.”
Although the offer could help it better compete with Verizon, Entner pointed out “the big difference between Fios and Altice is that Fios is symmetrical and Altice is not.” He concluded “More customer friendly prices always help. The question is how much.”
This story has been updated with a comment from Altice USA as well as plan prices.