MoffettNathanson analyst Craig Moffett asserted US cable operators punched above their weight in terms of mobile net additions during Q1, taking 75 per cent of the figure despite accounting for 5 per cent of the post-paid sector.

In a report, Moffett noted cable companies including Comcast, Charter Communications and Altice US added 12 million mobile users, highlighting the operators are an emerging threat to AT&T, T-Mobile US and Verizon.

The analyst wrote net additions by cable companies is “still little more than a rounding error in the US wireless industry”, but placed the operators as the most important force in the mobile sector, based on its trajectory.

Moffett argued cable operators have emerged as the fourth player in the US mobile market instead of Dish Network.

The cable industry added more than 1 million post-paid customers in Q1, compared with an aggregated annual decline of 54.5 per cent for AT&T, Verizon and T-Mobile.

Promotions by the cable industry including offering a free line when mobile service is bundled with broadband have added pressure on the large mobile operators, which Moffett said must now offer their own discounts or subsidies.

“Cable’s high share of gross additions suggest these pressures will get worse before they get better.”

Moffett’s data excluded privately-held Cox Communications, which concluded a nationwide mobile service launch earlier this year.