Spectrum lost 61,000 internet customers in the fourth quarter, even as the wireless carriers boast huge growth in 5G home internet service. But Christopher Winfrey, CEO of Spectrum parent Charter Communications, doesn’t seem too fazed.
“We continue to believe the impact from fixed wireless is temporary,” Winfrey told analysts during a Friday call to discuss its fourth-quarter results, before throwing more shade at 5G home internet. “Our internet product is faster and more reliable.”
The comments come as 5G home internet continues to eat into cable’s share, as Cord Cutting 2.0 takes hold. While all of the carriers boast strong subscriber growth from so-called fixed wireless access, T-Mobile in particular will almost certainly outpace the rest of the broadband industry combined. It added 541,000 customers in the period, more than double the amount of Verizon’s still-impressive 231,000 customer additions. Consumers have been drawn by 5G home internet’s simple pricing plans and easy installation.
Winfrey conceded that Spectrum was hurt by the “more persistent competition from fixed wireless.” He also noted “overbuilders,” or wireline companies that enter other territory, like Frontier Communications, are also posing a threat.
But he argued that Spectrum’s plans are actually more competitive when bundled with its discount mobile plan. He said that only 13% of its customer base has a mobile account with the company, representing potential upside.
He has repeatedly criticized the quality of 5G home internet service, calling it another form of DSL. On Friday, he called it an “inferior product with limited capacity, often marketed to consumers at a perceived lower price.”
While the threat of 5G home internet is undeniable, Winfrey said he expects to return to more normalized internet growth over time.