Altice's new cellphone service will use the networks of Sprint...

Altice's new cellphone service will use the networks of Sprint and AT&T, the company said. Credit: Ed Betz

Altice USA Inc. launched a cellular telephone service on Thursday that it said was cheaper than some rival services.

The provider of Optimum cable television, internet and landline telephone services said Altice Mobile will be available to existing and new customers in the 21 states where Altice operates. The company is headquartered in Long Island City, Queens.

The cell service will cost $20 a month per line for new and existing Optimum customers and $30 for cell-only customers, for unlimited data, text and talk in the United States.

The company is offering a "price for life,"  meaning it  “won’t change as long as you’re an Altice Mobile customer,” said company spokeswoman Lisa Anselmo. 

The prices also include unlimited talk and text to more than 35 countries, including Canada, Mexico, Israel and most of Europe. Altice USA's sister company, Altice N.V. of the Netherlands, has extensive operations in those areas.

Altice USA struck a deal with Sprint and AT&T to use their respective networks. The service also will run on Altice's in-home Wi-Fi system and network of hot spots at places such as Long Island Rail Road stations.

Customers can use their existing phones, the company said. They also may purchase phones at Optimum stores.

“By building a mobile network that will ultimately support 5G combined with our state-of-the-art fiber broadband capable of more than 10 gigabit speeds, Altice USA is creating a formidable and powerful network to deliver superior connectivity and simplified customer experiences,” said CEO Dexter Goei.

The company joins other cable TV providers in the hypercompetitive market for cell service. Comcast Corp., the nation's biggest cable company, began selling its Xfinity Mobile service in 2017, and Charter Communications Inc. launched Spectrum Mobile a year ago.

Altice USA’s predecessor, Cablevision Systems Corp. of Bethpage, launched a Wi-Fi-only phone service called Freewheel in early 2015. The service was shut down about a year later after Cablevision was purchased by Altice N.V. for $17.7 billion.

Altice USA said Thursday Altice Mobile will cost less than half the average cellphone bill in the United States, which is $70 per month.

The company has more than 3 million cable TV subscribers and more than 4 million internet customers.

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