Altice USA followed rival AT&T in hiking service costs for consumers, raising internet pricing by $10 per month for new customers and also bumping up promotional rates for TV and phone service.
The move was mentioned by CEO Dexter Goei during comments at a MoffettNathanson investor conference Wednesday morning. According to Goei, Altice announced the change on May 16.
An operator representative told Fierce the change applies to promotional rates for new customers rather than the monthly cost for existing customers, and said rates will vary by market. Though Goei did not disclose the amount of the increase, an Altice customer service representative said change will bump promotional rates for both cable and fiber internet service by $10 per month, $15 for TV service and $5 for phone service.
Goei did, however, provide some insight into where those increases will take effect.
“Across all of our footprint that’s what we viewed as non-competitive, we’ve been raising prices and even in all the Fios zones we’ve raised prices,” the CEO stated. “For the areas that we view as new competition – so that would be Connecticut with Frontier or certain markets in the Suddenlink market – we have not raised prices because we’re going to be thoughtful about competing against the fiber overbuilders there.”
He added price increases aren’t something Altice does every year, and when it does it takes into account different cohorts within its subscriber base. “We’re very, very focused on keeping our subscribers that are tenured at three-plus years happier,” he said.
The move comes two weeks after AT&T revealed it was bumping up prices for certain internet customers by $3 per month.
Goei noted Altice does have a fair amount of overlap with AT&T in its Suddenlink footprint, stating the latter has around 300,000 to 350,000 homes in its footprint. Given AT&T’s fiber expansion plans, he said he expects that to increase to around 600,000 in the coming years.
Looking ahead, Goei said Altice is leaning toward competing against AT&T in a way similar to how it deals with Verizon and focusing instead on price matching upstart fiber overbuilders. He added the operator is also reevaluating its price messaging with the goal of offering consumers more clarity about potential increases upfront.
“On the gross add side, I think we’re revisiting that from soup to nuts, trying to be very upfront and clear with our customers and subscribers as to what’s going to happen over the next couple of years. Either nothing is going to happen or something’s going to happen and defining that number so it’s no surprise,” he said. “I think one of the biggest issues that subscribers have in our sector in general is that surprise.”
Goei said Altice will likely provide more detail on how it plans to approach pricing within the next month.
This story has been updated to clarify that the rate increases apply only to promotional pricing for new customers rather than monthly rates for existing customers.