US broadband provider Charter Communications prepared to put a new mobile service through its paces before launch, revealing a large scale field trial will take place in May with employees as test customers.
During the company’s Q1 earnings call, CEO Tom Rutledge said around 5,000 Charter employees will take part in the trial, walking through “an end-to-end sales activation of service process”. He added the company is also in the process of bulking up its mobile sales channels and service capabilities, modifying “several hundred” of its retail stores and setting up mobile call centres.
The moves come ahead of an expected service launch in the current quarter.
Charter has been steadily preparing, hiring former Sprint executive Danny Bowman in March to oversee the launch. In April, the company also teamed with Comcast on the joint development and design of backend systems to support the wireless push.
While Charter CFO Christopher Winfrey said Comcast is a reasonable example of how Charter’s mobile model might play out in early days, Rutledge stressed Charter will adopt a different marketing strategy. The approach, Rutledge said, will lead to a divergence in performance.
Ultimately Charter aims to use its mobile service to “attract and retain cable bundle multi-product customers,” he added.
AT&T is pursuing a similar strategy. During its Q1 earnings call in April the operator’s CFO noted AT&T is pushing bundle deals as a way to reduce churn and increase revenue from user accounts.