Charter CFO says 5G is ‘not comparable’ to DOCSIS 3.1

Charter Communications CFO Chris Winfrey is adamant that 5G will not pose a threat to fixed-line providers as it cannot offer the same capabilities.

Speaking at the Bank of America Merrill Lynch Media, Communications & Entertainment Conference on Thursday, Winfrey said:

“I don’t see anything about 5G that ever makes it comparable to DOCSIS 3.1 or DOCSIS 3.1 Full Duplex, or any capability we have through fixed line service.”

Charter has been ramping up its DOCSIS 3.1 deployment to deliver gigabit downstream speeds. The company is also exploring a newer Full Duplex annex of 3.1 that will support multi-gigabit symmetrical speeds.

These speeds, Winfrey argues, is just one reason why 5G won’t replace fixed-line services anytime soon. However, he notes that in some cases it may be easier to get a wireless signal than laying physical cables.

Furthermore, Winfrey notes the need for 5G providers to rely on fixed-line for vital infrastructure:

“When I look at 5G and what it takes to deliver 5G when it finally becomes real… we have it.

You have to be relatively close to the home with fibre, and you need to have power. To replicate that without cable infrastructure, you really need to be a cable overbuilder… I don’t see any rationale for someone to do that.”

Charter has a partnership with Spectrum Mobile, an MVNO which uses Verizon’s network. The company says its strategy is to get more people to sign up for Charter’s fixed-line services by also bundling in mobile services for connectivity both in and out of the home.

"We'll be using this as a tool to sell mobile into the existing customer base but also into our new sales every day, and we'll be using mobile to drive incremental sales to cable," Winfrey said.

The company is expecting "at least a couple of years” of startup costs associated with the bundling of mobile services. Ultimately, Charter hopes the move will reduce customer churn.

What are your thoughts on Winfrey’s comments? Let us know below. in hearing industry leaders discuss subjects like this and sharing their use-cases? Attend the co-located IoT Tech Expo, Blockchain Expo, AI & Big Data Expo and Cyber Security & Cloud Expo World Series with upcoming events in Silicon Valley, London and Amsterdam and explore the future of enterprise technology.

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