Altice sees improved metrics, emphasizes digital customer interactions

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Altice USA saw improved metrics across its broadband, fiber and mobile customers, with its mobile customer base growing at a rate of five times faster than it did during 2022’s third quarter, CEO and Chairman Dennis Mathew told analysts on the company’s quarterly call.

Altice reported that it lost fewer broadband customers— down 31,000 during the third quarter of this year, compared to -43,000 a year ago. The company saw its best fiber customer numbers yet, adding 45,000 net new fiber-to-the-home customers to bring its total fiber broadband base to 295,000. In mobile, the company added 24,000 net new customers (compared to just 5,000 net mobile adds a year ago) and reached 6.3% penetration of its broadband customer base.

“Our results from the quarter affirm our strategy is working, our discipline is paying off, and we are moving fast to transform our business and be the connectivity provider of choice in every community that we serve,” Mathew said.

As of the end of the quarter, about 33% of Altice’s mobile customer base was subscribed to an unlimited plan, up from about 20% a year ago. (The company has been transitioning customers off of an existing 12-month plan that offered free 1-gigabit mobile data and is turning some of those into paying customers.)

The company plans to launch a business-focused mobile product, Optimum Complete SMB, in the fourth quarter.

The service provider is also focusing on automation, digitalization and customer self-installs and self-care to help drive down its costs, Mathew emphasized. He said that Altice has been implementing a digital-first approach to customer case that has both reduced the number of total customer interactions, and shifted more of those interactions with customers to less-expensive digital channels—and helped to improve its customer satisfaction metrics. Its text-message-based communications to customers were up 19%, he said, as the company becomes “more proactive in updating customers about outages, upcoming bills and technician arrivals.” Altice saw a 51% year-over-year increase in use of its online chatbot service and 16% increase in interactions with its online customer portal for account management. He mentioned later in the call that the company is also using artificial intelligence in tailored retention offers or “cues”, that ensure its customer relationships are profitable on-net, through tailored offers for users. “Early results from several of our pilots are indicating double-digit-percentage-level lifts in customer-level profitability after a customer interacts with our retention cues,” Mathew said. “We are encouraged by these results and expect to continue to experiment and roll out these capabilities in 2024.”

Additionally, in the third quarter of this year, Mathew said, self-installations for qualified new customers were up 71% year-over-year. 

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