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Altice adds a $20 mobile plan to its cable service

Even non-Altice cable subscribers can get the plan for $30 per month.
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Igor Bonifacic / Engadget

Yet another US cable provider is attempting to shake up the wireless market by launching a mobile virtual network operator (MVNO). This time, it's Altice with Altice Mobile and a $20 plan that is unprecedented in the US market. The plan includes unlimited data alongside unlimited nationwide talk and text. It also features unlimited video streaming at 480p and international roaming in 35 countries.

Moreover, unlike Comcast's Xfinity Mobile, you don't need to be a customer with Altice's Optimum or Suddenlink cable services to subscribe. But you do at least need to live near where those services are offered. The plan also costs $30, instead of $20, per month if you're not a current cable subscriber.

As an MVNO, Altice Mobile plans to offer service through Sprint and AT&T's networks. In an interview with CNET, the company said if Sprint and T-Mobile complete their merger, Altice Mobile subscribers will also gain access to the Uncarrier's network as well. Notably, Altice Mobile is operating as an infrastructure-based MVNO. That means while subscribers will connect to cell towers from Sprint and AT&T, any traffic will ultimately go through Altice's own switching infrastructure. It's a big part of the reason why the company is able to offer a $20 plan. Since it's not expecting AT&T and Sprint to do all the heavy lifting, it was able to strike a more favorable agreement.

To put Altice's plan in perspective, the closest offer from competitors like Xfinity Mobile and Spectrum costs approximately $45 per month. While an unlimited plan with similar features from a traditional wireless carrier like T-Mobile costs $40 per month.

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