There was no mention of when Altice’s service will be available, and Sprint didn’t say how soon it would piggyback on Altice’s cables.
As with Comcast’s Verizon-based Xfinity Mobile, Altice isn’t likely hoping to become a major force in the American wireless industry. Rather, it’s a way of sweetening the pot for cable subscribers: you can get your internet, TV and cellphone service through one company (no doubt with a bundle discount). It shows how cellular is quickly becoming a must-have for companies that were once content to stick to landlines.
For Sprint, this deal is more urgent. Although its finances are improving, it’s still struggling to compete with T-Mobile and other big carriers — and network performance plays a role in that. If it can accelerate its coverage improvements, it may keep more customers and lure people frustrated with its competitors. This doesn’t mean that Sprint’s network will receive a dramatic speed boost, but you may see fewer overcrowded cell sites and coverage gaps.