Altice Mobile

Altice is a cable TV company that goes under the brand Optimum. The company was formerly owned by Cablevision, which sold to Altice a few years ago. Tech-wise they are fine – tv works, phone works, internet works. Customer service-wise they are terrible. They answer the phone when you call, which is good. But their staff is untrained, clueless about the company’s products and it’s been enormously frustrating having to call them to add services or fix a problem.

I would leave them in heartbeat except that the only alternative is dish tv which doesn’t provide the same breadth of services.

Recently Altice released a new cellphone service called Altice Mobile, which would cost $20 per phone per month, locked in for life. The service provides unlimited phone, text and data plus hotspot. They claim you can bring your own phone (Apple, Motorola or Samsung) or buy a phone from them with no interest and no down payment.

Sounds like a good deal and it would save my family a lot of money. But …

  1. You can only “bring your own phone” if you have one of the few phones they support. Apple phones seem to be well supported but according to the salesman at their store very few non-Apple phones are currently supported. My Motorola phone is not, which means I would need to buy a new phone from one of their very limited non-Apple choices (only the Moto G7 Play and the Samsung S9) in order to try out their service.
  2. The service runs on ATT and Sprint, but according to an article I read Altice relies only on their cell towers not their network. The service will run on Altice’s own network, which might be accessed via wifi as well. Since this is a completely new concept, no one has any history with how well or poorly this works. From experience I can say that Altice’s wifi network is very hit or miss. They have access points in many places in my area, but the ACs often provide no service. I turned off automatic access to their ACs because my phone won’t function when connected to them. I wonder how this will affect performance of their cell and data network.
  3. The salesman said that the $20 deal will be around for a long time, and additional phones will be added to the roster over time (Altice Mobile came on line only 10 days ago). So there is no urgency to try it now, especially since it’s not the money-saver I hoped it would be given that I’d need new phones to use it.

I don’t know for sure if anything the salesman said is true in view of Altice’s history of weak customer support. But I’ll pass on this for now.

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