Charter Announces Second Quarter 2018 Results

STAMFORD, Conn., July 31, 2018 /PRNewswire/ — Charter Communications, Inc. (along with its subsidiaries, the “Company” or “Charter”) today reported financial and operating results for the three and six months ended June 30, 2018.

STAMFORD, Conn., July 31, 2018 /PRNewswire/ — Charter Communications, Inc. (along with its subsidiaries, the “Company” or “Charter”) today reported financial and operating results for the three and six months ended June 30, 2018.

Key highlights:

As of June 30, 2018, Charter had 27.6 million total customer relationships and 52.9 million total PSUs. Second quarter total residential and SMB customer relationships increased 196,000, compared to 213,000 during the second quarter of 2017. Over the twelve months ended June 30, 2018, total residential and SMB customer relationships grew by 3.3%. In the second quarter, total residential and SMB video, Internet and voice customers increased by 202,000, as compared to 246,000 during the second quarter of 2017. Second quarter revenues of $10.9 billion grew 4.8%, as compared to the prior year period, driven by residential revenue growth of 4.6%, commercial revenue growth of 4.4%, and advertising revenue growth of 12.0%. Second quarter Adjusted EBITDA1 of $4.1 billion grew 5.3% year-over-year, and 6.2% when excluding second quarter mobile costs. Net income attributable to Charter shareholders totaled $273 million in the second quarter, compared to $139 million during the same period last year. Second quarter capital expenditures totaled $2.4 billion compared to $2.1 billion during the second quarter of 2017, primarily driven by in-year timing differences and Charter’s all-digital and Internet speed increase initiatives. Second quarter capital expenditures included $88 million of all-digital costs and $53 million of mobile launch costs. During the second quarter, Charter purchased approximately 6.4 million shares of Charter Class A common stock and Charter Communications Holdings, LLC (“Charter Holdings”) common units for approximately $1.9 billion.

“Over the last two years, we have invested significantly to quickly integrate and unify the operating strategies of three large cable operators. While that process is disruptive, it has allowed us to position our residential and commercial businesses for long term growth and success, which is beginning to show in our operating results,” said Tom Rutledge, Chairman and CEO of Charter Communications. “By the end of this year our integration will be nearly complete, and we will be operating as one company, with a unified product, marketing, and service infrastructure, which will allow us to accelerate growth and innovate faster.”

1.

Adjusted EBITDA, free cash flow and GAAP are defined in the “Use of Adjusted EBITDA and Free Cash Flow Information” section and are reconciled to consolidated net income and net cash flows from operating activities, respectively, in the addendum of this news release.

Key Operating Results

Approximate as of

June 30, 2018 (b)

June 30, 2017 (a)(b)

Y/Y Change

Footprint (c)

Estimated Video Passings

50,364

49,500

1.7

%

Estimated Internet Passings

50,149

49,228

1.9

%

Estimated Voice Passings

49,532

48,472

2.2

%

Penetration Statistics (d)

Video Penetration of Estimated Video Passings

33.1

%

34.2

%

(1.1)

ppts

Internet Penetration of Estimated Internet Passings

49.1

%

47.5

%

1.6

ppts

Voice Penetration of Estimated Voice Passings

22.9

%

23.2

%

(0.3)

ppts

Customer Relationships (e)

Residential

25,871

25,157

2.8

%

Small and Medium Business

1,750

1,580

10.8

%

Total Customer Relationships

27,621

26,737

3.3

%

Residential

Primary Service Units (“PSUs”)

Video

16,206

16,502

(1.8)

%

Internet

23,070

22,005

4.8

%

Voice

10,325

10,375

(0.5)

%

49,601

48,882

1.5

%

Quarterly Net Additions/(Losses)

Video

(73)

(91)

19.8

%

Internet

218

230

(5.2)

%

Voice

(45)

14

(421.4)

%

100

153

(34.6)

%

Single Play (f)

10,694

10,062

6.3

%

Double Play (f)

6,633

6,467

2.6

%

Triple Play (f)

8,544

8,628

(1.0)

%

Single Play Penetration (g)

41.3

%

40.0

%

1.3

ppts

Double Play Penetration (g)

25.6

%

25.7

%

(0.1)

ppts

Triple Play Penetration (g)

33.0

%

34.3

%

(1.3)

ppts

% Residential Non-Video Customer Relationships

37.4

%

34.4

%

3.0

ppts

Monthly Residential Revenue per Residential Customer (h)

$111.88

$109.99

1.7

%

Small and Medium Business

PSUs

Video

476

423

12.5

%

Internet

1,552

1,390

11.7

%

Voice

994

863

15.2

%

3,022

2,676

12.9

%

Quarterly Net Additions/(Losses)

Video

16

15

6.7

%

Internet

49

39

25.6

%

Voice

37

39

(5.1)

%

102

93

9.7

%

Monthly Small and Medium Business Revenue per Customer (i)

$176.96

$190.37

(7.0)

%

Enterprise PSUs (j)

Enterprise PSUs

235

202

16.3

%

Footnotes

In thousands, except per customer and penetration data. See footnotes to unaudited summary of operating statistics on page 5 of the addendum of this news release. The footnotes contain important disclosures regarding the definitions used for these operating statistics.

All percentages are calculated using whole numbers. Minor differences may exist due to rounding.

During the second quarter of 2018, Charter’s residential customer relationships grew by 141,000, while second quarter 2017 customer relationships grew by 166,000. Residential PSUs increased by 100,000 in the second quarter of 2018, compared to second quarter 2017 residential PSU additions of 153,000. The year-over-year decrease in PSU additions was primarily driven by a decline in voice net additions in the second quarter of 2018. As of June 30, 2018, Charter had 25.9 million residential customer relationships and 49.6 million residential PSUs.

Charter added 218,000 residential Internet customers in the second quarter of 2018, versus second quarter 2017 Internet customers additions of 230,000. As of June 30, 2018, Charter had 23.1 million residential Internet customers, with over 80% of those residential Internet customers subscribing to tiers that provided 60 Mbps or more of speed, and over 60% subscribing to Internet tiers that provided 100 Mbps or more of speed. Currently, 100 Mbps is the slowest speed offered to new Internet customers in 99% of Charter’s footprint.

During the second quarter, Charter further expanded the availability of its Spectrum Internet Gig service (940 Mbps) to a number of new markets. The service, which uses DOCSIS 3.1 technology, is now available in approximately 60% of Charter’s footprint. Charter expects to offer its Spectrum Internet Gig service to nearly all of its footprint by the end of 2018. Additionally, Charter is doubling minimum Internet speeds to 200 Mbps in a number of markets at no additional cost to new and existing Spectrum Internet customers.

Residential video customers decreased by 73,000 in the second quarter of 2018, while second quarter 2017 video customers decreased by 91,000. During the year ended June 30, 2018, limited basic video subscriptions represented all of Charter’s residential video customer losses, while the combination of traditional expanded basic video, and Charter’s Stream and Choice packages contributed to video customer growth. As of June 30, 2018, Charter had 16.2 million residential video customers.

As of the end of the second quarter, 91% of Charter’s footprint was all-digital. During the quarter, Charter continued its all-digital efforts, and as of June 30, 2018 , approximately 6% of Legacy TWC’s footprint and 50% of Legacy Bright House’s footprint were not yet all-digital. All-digital allows Charter to offer more advanced products and services, and provides residential customers with two-way digital set-top boxes, which offer better video picture quality, an interactive programming guide and video on demand on all TV outlets in the home.

During the second quarter of 2018, residential voice customers declined by 45,000, while second quarter 2017 voice customers grew by 14,000. As of June 30, 2018, Charter had 10.3 million residential voice customers.

On June 30, Charter launched its Spectrum MobileTM service. Spectrum Mobile runs on America’s largest, most reliable 4G-LTE network and is combined with a nationwide network of Spectrum WiFi hotspots. Spectrum Mobile customers can choose one of two simple ways to pay for data, “Unlimited” for $45 a month (per line), or “By the Gig” at $14/GB. Both plans include free nationwide talk and text and customers can easily switch data plans during the month. In the coming months, Spectrum Mobile will broaden its array of device offerings, and will also allow customers to transfer existing handsets to Spectrum Mobile.

Second quarter residential revenue per customer relationship totaled $111.88, and grew by 1.7% compared to the prior year period, as promotional rate step-ups and modest rate adjustments, were partly offset by continued single play Internet sell-in.

SMB customer relationships grew by 55,000, during the second quarter of 2018, compared to growth of 47,000 during the second quarter of 2017. SMB PSUs increased 102,000, compared to 93,000 during the second quarter of 2017. As of June 30, 2018, Charter had 1.8 million SMB customer relationships and 3.0 million SMB PSUs. Enterprise PSUs grew by 7,000 during the second quarter of 2018, compared to growth of 6,000 during the second quarter of 2017. As of June 30, 2018, Charter had 235,000 enterprise PSUs.

Second Quarter Financial Results

CHARTER COMMUNICATIONS, INC. AND SUBSIDIARIES

UNAUDITEDCONSOLIDATED STATEMENTS OF OPERATIONS AND OPERATING DATA

(dollars in millions, except per share data)

Three Months Ended June 30,

2018

2017

% Change

REVENUES:

Video

$ 4,363

$ 4,119

5.9 %

Internet

3,770

3,512

7.3 %

Voice

531

650

(18.3)%

Residential revenue

8,664

8,281

4.6 %

Small and medium business

915

890

2.9 %

Enterprise

627

588

6.7 %

Commercial revenue

1,542

1,478

4.4 %

Advertising sales

427

381

12.0 %

Other

221

217

1.5 %

Total Revenue

10,854

10,357

4.8 %

COSTS AND EXPENSES:

Total operating costs and expenses

6,803

6,510

4.5 %

Adjusted EBITDA

$ 4,051

$ 3,847

5.3 %

Adjusted EBITDA margin

37.3 %

37.1 %

Capital Expenditures

$ 2,391

$ 2,148

% Total Revenues

22.0 %

20.7 %

Net income attributable to Charter shareholders

$ 273

$ 139

Earnings per common share attributable to Charter shareholders:

Basic

$ 1.17

$ 0.53

Diluted

$ 1.15

$ 0.52

Net cash flows from operating activities

$ 3,096

$ 2,945

Free cash flow

$ 804

$ 1,144

Revenue

Second quarter revenues rose 4.8% year-over-year to $10.9 billion, driven by growth in Internet, video, commercial and advertising revenues. Excluding advertising, second quarter revenues increased 4.5% year-over-year.

Video revenues totaled $4.4 billion in the second quarter, an increase of 5.9% compared to prior year period. Video revenue growth was driven by annual rate adjustments, promotional rolloff, a higher number of expanded basic video customers year-over-year and higher bundled revenue allocation relating to the launch of Spectrum pricing and packaging in Legacy TWC and Legacy Bright House, partly offset by a decrease in limited basic video customers.

Internet revenues grew 7.3%, compared to the year-ago quarter, to $3.8 billion, driven by growth in Internet customers during the last year, promotional rolloff and bundled revenue allocation relating to the launch of Spectrum pricing and packaging in Legacy TWC and Legacy Bright House.

Voice revenues totaled $531 million in the second quarter, a decrease of 18.3% compared to the second quarter of 2017, driven by value-based pricing, lower bundled revenue allocation relating to the launch of Spectrum pricing and packaging in Legacy TWC and Legacy Bright House, and a decline in voice customers over the last twelve months.

Commercial revenues rose to $1.5 billion, an increase of 4.4% over the prior year period, driven by enterprise revenue growth of 6.7% and SMB revenue growth of 2.9%. Second quarter 2018 commercial revenue growth was lower than second quarter 2018 commercial customer relationship growth, given the migration of Legacy TWC and Legacy Bright House commercial customers to more attractively priced Spectrum pricing and packaging for both SMB and enterprise services.

Second quarter advertising sales revenues of $427 million increased 12.0% compared to the year-ago quarter, driven by higher political revenue.

Operating Costs and Expenses

Second quarter total operating costs and expenses increased by $293 million, or 4.5% year-over-year, and 4.0% when excluding second quarter mobile launch costs.

Second quarter programming expense increased by $154 million, or 5.8% as compared to the second quarter of 2017, reflecting contractual programming increases, renewals and a higher number of expanded basic video customers year-over-year.

Regulatory, connectivity and produced content expenses increased by $28 million, or 5.1% year-over-year, driven in part by the Company’s adoption of FASB’s ASU 2014-09 as of January 1, 2018, which results in the reclassification of expenses related to the amortization of up-front fees paid to market and serve customers who reside in multiple dwelling units, and which were recorded in depreciation and amortization in the prior-year period, to regulatory, connectivity and produced content expenses.

Costs to service customers increased by $22 million or 1.2% year-over-year compared to year-over-year residential and SMB customer growth of 3.3%. The year-over-year increase in costs to service customers was primarily the result of an increase in bad debt expense on a larger customer base.

Marketing expenses increased by $9 million, or 1.2% year-over-year due to higher sales and the implementation of Charter’s selling tactics in the acquired footprints, partly offset by lower transition-related expenses.

Other expenses increased by $47 million, or 5.8% as compared to the second quarter of 2017 driven by higher information technology, advertising sales, insurance and enterprise costs.

In the second quarter of 2018, mobile launch costs totaled $33 million.

Adjusted EBITDA

Second quarter Adjusted EBITDA of $4.1 billion grew by 5.3% year-over-year, reflecting revenue growth and operating expense growth of 4.8% and 4.5%, respectively. Excluding mobile costs of $33 million in the second quarter of 2018, Adjusted EBITDA grew by 6.2% year-over-year.

Net Income Attributable to Charter Shareholders

Net income attributable to Charter shareholders totaled $273 million in the second quarter of 2018, compared to $139 million in the second quarter of 2017. The year-over-year increase in net income was primarily driven by higher Adjusted EBITDA and lower severance-related and transactions expenses, partly offset by higher year-over-year interest expense.

Net income per basic common share attributable to Charter shareholders totaled $1.17 in the second quarter of 2018 compared to $0.53 during the same period last year. The increase was primarily the result of the factors described above and a 11.1% decrease in weighted average common shares outstanding versus the prior year period.

Capital Expenditures

Property, plant and equipment expenditures totaled $2.4 billion in the second quarter of 2018, compared to $2.1 billion during the second quarter of 2017, primarily driven by an increase in scalable infrastructure, support capital spending, and line extensions, partly offset by lower CPE spending. The increase in scalable infrastructure was related to more consistent timing of in-year spend, and planned product improvements for video and Internet, including spending related to DOCSIS 3.1 launches. Support capital increased due to higher vehicle purchases, software development and facilities spending, and includes $46 million of capital spending related to the launch of Spectrum Mobile. The decrease in CPE spending was related to prior year timing of set-top box purchases related to the launch of Spectrum pricing and packaging in Legacy TWC and Legacy Bright House, partly offset by CPE related to Charter’s all-digital initiative in 2018. Second quarter capital expenditures included $88 million of all-digital costs and $53 million of mobile launch costs.

Cash Flow and Free Cash Flow

During the second quarter of 2018, net cash flows from operating activities totaled $3.1 billion, compared to $2.9 billion in the second quarter of 2017. The year-over-year increase in net cash flows from operating activities was primarily due to higher Adjusted EBITDA and lower severance-related expenses.

Free cash flow for the second quarter of 2018 totaled $804 million, compared to $1.1 billion during the same period last year. The decrease was driven by higher capital expenditures in the second quarter of 2018 versus the second quarter of 2017, partly offset by higher net cash flows from operating activities. During the second quarter, the reduction in free cash flow from mobile totaled $116 million.

Liquidity & Financing

As of June 30, 2018, total principal amount of debt was $71.1 billion and Charter’s credit facilities provided approximately $3.9 billion of additional liquidity in excess of Charter’s $773 million cash position.

In April, Charter Communications Operating, LLC and Charter Communications Operating Capital Corp issued $800 million of 5.375% senior secured notes due 2038, and $1.7 billion of 5.750% senior secured notes due 2048. The net proceeds were used to repay existing indebtedness, including to fund the July redemption of all of the outstanding $2.0 billion in aggregate principal amount of TWC’s 6.75% notes due July 2018, to pay related fees and expenses and for general corporate purposes, including funding buybacks of Charter Class A common stock and common units of Charter Holdings.

In July, Charter Communications Operating, LLC and Charter Communications Operating Capital Corp. issued $1.1 billion of 4.500% senior secured notes due 2024, and $400 million of senior secured floating rate notes due 2024 at three-month LIBOR, reset quarterly, plus 165 basis points. The net proceeds will be used for general corporate purposes, including to fund potential buybacks of Charter Class A common stock or common units of Charter Holdings.

Share Repurchases

During the three months ended June 30, 2018, Charter purchased approximately 6.4 million shares of Charter Class A common stock and Charter Holdings common units for approximately $1.9 billion.

Conference Call

Charter will host a conference call on Tuesday, July 31, 2018 at 8:30 a.m. Eastern Time (ET) related to the contents of this release.

The conference call will be webcast live via the Company’s investor relations website at ir.charter.com. The call will be archived under the “Financial Information” section two hours after completion of the call. Participants should go to the webcast link no later than 10 minutes prior to the start time to register.

Those participating via telephone should dial 866-919-0894 no later than 10 minutes prior to the call. International participants should dial 706-679-9379. The conference ID code for the call is 6488496.

A replay of the call will be available at 855-859-2056 or 404-537-3406 beginning two hours after the completion of the call through the end of business on May 11, 2018. The conference ID code for the replay is 6488496.

Additional Information Available on Website

The information in this press release should be read in conjunction with the financial statements and footnotes contained in the Company’s Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q for the three and six months ended June 30, 2018, which will be posted on the “Financial Information” section of our investor relations website at ir.charter.com, when it is filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission (the “SEC”). A slide presentation to accompany the conference call and a trending schedule containing historical customer and financial data will also be available in the “Financial Information” section.

Use of Adjusted EBITDA andFree Cash Flow Information

The company uses certain measures that are not defined by U.S. generally accepted accounting principles (“GAAP”) to evaluate various aspects of its business. Adjusted EBITDA and free cash flow are non-GAAP financial measures and should be considered in addition to, not as a substitute for, consolidated net income and net cash flows from operating activities reported in accordance with GAAP. These terms, as defined by Charter, may not be comparable to similarly titled measures used by other companies. Adjusted EBITDA and free cash flow are reconciled to consolidated net income and net cash flows from operating activities, respectively, in the Addendum to this release.

Adjusted EBITDA is defined as consolidated net income plus net interest expense, income taxes, depreciation and amortization, stock compensation expense, loss on extinguishment of debt, (gain) loss on financial instruments, other (income) expense, net and other operating (income) expenses, such as merger and restructuring costs, special charges and (gain) loss on sale or retirement of assets. As such, it eliminates the significant non-cash depreciation and amortization expense that results from the capital-intensive nature of the Company’s businesses as well as other non-cash or special items, and is unaffected by the Company’s capital structure or investment activities. However, this measure is limited in that it does not reflect the periodic costs of certain capitalized tangible and intangible assets used in generating revenues and the cash cost of financing. These costs are evaluated through other financial measures.

Free cash flow is defined as net cash flows from operating activities, less capital expenditures and changes in accrued expenses related to capital expenditures.

Management and Charter’s board of directors use Adjusted EBITDA and free cash flow to assess Charter’s performance and its ability to service its debt, fund operations and make additional investments with internally generated funds. In addition, Adjusted EBITDA generally correlates to the leverage ratio calculation under the Company’s credit facilities or outstanding notes to determine compliance with the covenants contained in the facilities and notes (all such documents have been previously filed with the the SEC). For the purpose of calculating compliance with leverage covenants, the Company uses Adjusted EBITDA, as presented, excluding certain expenses paid by its operating subsidiaries to other Charter entities. The Company’s debt covenants refer to these expenses as management fees, which were $265 million and $256 million for the three months ended June 30, 2018 and 2017, respectively, and were $538 million and $529 million for the six months ended June 30, 2018 and 2017, respectively.

About Charter

Charter Communications, Inc. (NASDAQ:CHTR) is a leading broadband communications company and the second largest cable operator in the United States. Charter provides a full range of advanced residential broadband services, including Spectrum TV® programming, Spectrum Internet®, and Spectrum Voice®. Under the Spectrum Business® brand, Charter provides scalable, and cost-effective broadband communications solutions to small and medium-sized business organizations, including Internet access, business telephone, and TV services. Through the Spectrum Enterprise brand, Charter is a national provider of scalable, fiber-based technology solutions serving many of America’s largest businesses and communications service providers. Charter’s advertising sales and production services are sold under the Spectrum Reach® brand. Charter’s news and sports networks are operated under the Spectrum Networks brand. More information about Charter can be found at newsroom.charter.com.

CAUTIONARY STATEMENT REGARDING FORWARD-LOOKING STATEMENTS

This communication includes forward-looking statements within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended, regarding, among other things, our plans, strategies and prospects, both business and financial. Although we believe that our plans, intentions and expectations as reflected in or suggested by these forward-looking statements are reasonable, we cannot assure you that we will achieve or realize these plans, intentions or expectations. Forward-looking statements are inherently subject to risks, uncertainties and assumptions including, without limitation, the factors described under “Risk Factors” from time to time in our filings with the SEC. Many of the forward-looking statements contained in this communication may be identified by the use of forward-looking words such as “believe,” “expect,” “anticipate,” “should,” “planned,” “will,” “may,” “intend,” “estimated,” “aim,” “on track,” “target,” “opportunity,” “tentative,” “positioning,” “designed,” “create,” “predict,” “project,” “initiatives,” “seek,” “would,” “could,” “continue,” “ongoing,” “upside,” “increases” and “potential,” among others. Important factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from the forward-looking statements we make in this communication are set forth in our annual report on Form 10-K, and in other reports or documents that we file from time to time with the SEC, and include, but are not limited to:

our ability to efficiently and effectively integrate acquired operations; our ability to sustain and grow revenues and cash flow from operations by offering video, Internet, voice, mobile, advertising and other services to residential and commercial customers, to adequately meet the customer experience demands in our markets and to maintain and grow our customer base, particularly in the face of increasingly aggressive competition, the need for innovation and the related capital expenditures; the impact of competition from other market participants, including but not limited to incumbent telephone companies, direct broadcast satellite operators, wireless broadband and telephone providers, digital subscriber line (“DSL”) providers, fiber to the home providers, video provided over the Internet by (i) market participants that have not historically competed in the multichannel video business, (ii) traditional multichannel video distributors, and (iii) content providers that have historically licensed cable networks to multichannel video distributors, and providers of advertising over the Internet; general business conditions, economic uncertainty or downturn, unemployment levels and the level of activity in the housing sector; our ability to obtain programming at reasonable prices or to raise prices to offset, in whole or in part, the effects of higher programming costs (including retransmission consents); our ability to develop and deploy new products and technologies including mobile products, our cloud-based user interface, Spectrum Guide®, and downloadable security for set-top boxes, and any other cloud-based consumer services and service platforms; the effects of governmental regulation on our business including costs, disruptions and possible limitations on operating flexibility related to, and our ability to comply with, regulatory conditions applicable to us as a result of the Time Warner Inc. and Bright House Networks, LLC transactions; any events that disrupt our networks, information systems or properties and impair our operating activities or our reputation; the ability to retain and hire key personnel; the availability and access, in general, of funds to meet our debt obligations prior to or when they become due and to fund our operations and necessary capital expenditures, either through (i) cash on hand, (ii) free cash flow, or (iii) access to the capital or credit markets; and our ability to comply with all covenants in our indentures and credit facilities, any violation of which, if not cured in a timely manner, could trigger a default of our other obligations under cross-default provisions.

All forward-looking statements attributable to us or any person acting on our behalf are expressly qualified in their entirety by this cautionary statement. We are under no duty or obligation to update any of the forward-looking statements after the date of this communication.

CHARTER COMMUNICATIONS, INC. AND SUBSIDIARIES

UNAUDITEDCONSOLIDATED STATEMENTS OF OPERATIONS AND OPERATING DATA

(dollars in millions, except per share data)

Three Months Ended June 30,

Six Months Ended June30,

2018

2017

% Change

2018

2017

% Change

REVENUES:

Video

$ 4,363

$ 4,119

5.9 %

$ 8,655

$ 8,193

5.6 %

Internet

3,770

3,512

7.3 %

7,477

6,909

8.2 %

Voice

531

650

(18.3)%

1,087

1,344

(19.1)%

Residential revenue

8,664

8,281

4.6 %

17,219

16,446

4.7 %

Small and medium business

915

890

2.9 %

1,815

1,756

3.4 %

Enterprise

627

588

6.7 %

1,249

1,167

7.0 %

Commercial revenue

1,542

1,478

4.4 %

3,064

2,923

4.9 %

Advertising sales

427

381

12.0 %

783

718

9.0 %

Other

221

217

1.5 %

445

434

2.3 %

Total Revenue

10,854

10,357

4.8 %

21,511

20,521

4.8 %

COSTS AND EXPENSES:

Programming

2,803

2,649

5.8 %

5,555

5,253

5.7 %

Regulatory, connectivity and produced content

560

532

5.1 %

1,093

1,030

6.0 %

Costs to service customers

1,784

1,762

1.2 %

3,638

3,562

2.1 %

Marketing

769

760

1.2 %

1,520

1,525

(0.3)%

Mobile

33

NM

41

NM

Other expense

854

807

5.8 %

1,720

1,650

4.2 %

Total operating costs and expenses (exclusive of items shown separately below)

6,803

6,510

4.5 %

13,567

13,020

4.2 %

Adjusted EBITDA

4,051

3,847

5.3 %

7,944

7,501

5.9 %

Adjusted EBITDA margin

37.3 %

37.1 %

36.9 %

36.5 %

Depreciation and amortization

2,592

2,595

5,302

5,145

Stock compensation expense

70

65

142

134

Other operating expenses, net

29

135

98

229

Income from operations

1,360

1,052

2,402

1,993

OTHER EXPENSES:

Interest expense, net

(878)

(749)

(1,729)

(1,462)

Loss on extinguishment of debt

(1)

(35)

Loss on financial instruments, net

(75)

(70)

(12)

(32)

Other income (expense), net

(27)

11

(30)

15

(980)

(809)

(1,771)

(1,514)

Income before income taxes

380

243

631

479

Income tax expense

(41)

(48)

(69)

(73)

Consolidated net income

339

195

562

406

Less: Net income attributable to noncontrolling interests

(66)

(56)

(121)

(112)

Net income attributable to Charter shareholders

$ 273

$ 139

$ 441

$ 294

EARNINGS PER COMMON SHARE

ATTRIBUTABLE TO CHARTER SHAREHOLDERS:

Basic

$ 1.17

$ 0.53

$ 1.87

$ 1.11

Diluted

$ 1.15

$ 0.52

$ 1.84

$ 1.09

Weighted average common shares outstanding, basic

234,241,769

263,460,911

235,992,306

266,217,549

Weighted average common shares outstanding, diluted

237,073,566

267,309,261

239,246,727

270,249,433

Adjusted EBITDA is a non-GAAP term. See page 6 of this addendum for the reconciliation of Adjusted EBITDA to consolidated net income as defined by GAAP. All percentages are calculated using whole numbers. Minor differences may exist due to rounding.

Revenue line items and certain associated expenses have been recast to reflect the customer changes described in note (a) on page 5 of this addendum and to classify certain expenses more closely with organizational responsibility. There were no changes to total revenue, Adjusted EBITDA, capital expenditures, free cash flow or net income.

CHARTER COMMUNICATIONS, INC. AND SUBSIDIARIES

CONDENSEDCONSOLIDATED BALANCE SHEETS

(dollars in millions)

June 30,

December 31,

2018

2017

(unaudited)

ASSETS

CURRENT ASSETS:

Cash and cash equivalents

$ 773

$ 621

Accounts receivable, net

1,619

1,635

Prepaid expenses and other current assets

358

299

Total current assets

2,750

2,555

INVESTMENT IN CABLE PROPERTIES:

Property, plant and equipment, net

34,411

33,888

Customer relationships, net

10,710

11,951

Franchises

67,319

67,319

Goodwill

29,554

29,554

Total investment in cable properties, net

141,994

142,712

OTHER NONCURRENT ASSETS

1,507

1,356

Total assets

$ 146,251

$ 146,623

LIABILITIES AND SHAREHOLDERS’ EQUITY

CURRENT LIABILITIES:

Accounts payable and accrued liabilities

$ 8,637

$ 9,045

Current portion of long-term debt

5,387

2,045

Total current liabilities

14,024

11,090

LONG-TERM DEBT

66,730

68,186

DEFERRED INCOME TAXES

17,376

17,314

OTHER LONG-TERM LIABILITIES

2,479

2,502

SHAREHOLDERS’ EQUITY:

Controlling interest

37,443

39,084

Noncontrolling interests

8,199

8,447

Total shareholders’ equity

45,642

47,531

Total liabilities and shareholders’ equity

$ 146,251

$ 146,623

CHARTER COMMUNICATIONS, INC. AND SUBSIDIARIES

UNAUDITEDCONSOLIDATED STATEMENTS OF CASH FLOWS

(dollars in millions)

Three Months Ended June 30,

Six Months Ended June 30,

2018

2017

2018

2017

CASH FLOWS FROM OPERATING ACTIVITIES:

Consolidated net income

$ 339

$ 195

$ 562

$ 406

Adjustments to reconcile consolidated net income to net cash flows from operating activities:

Depreciation and amortization

2,592

2,595

5,302

5,145

Stock compensation expense

70

65

142

134

Accelerated vesting of equity awards

20

5

37

Noncash interest income, net

(88)

(88)

(177)

(196)

Loss on extinguishment of debt

1

35

Loss on financial instruments, net

75

70

12

32

Deferred income taxes

29

26

57

42

Other, net

18

(11)

36

(18)

Changes in operating assets and liabilities, net of effects from acquisitions:

Accounts receivable

(210)

(175)

16

61

Prepaid expenses and other assets

40

60

(91)

(23)

Accounts payable, accrued liabilities and other

231

187

(69)

133

Net cash flows from operating activities

3,096

2,945

5,795

5,788

CASH FLOWS FROM INVESTING ACTIVITIES:

Purchases of property, plant and equipment

(2,391)

(2,148)

(4,574)

(3,703)

Change in accrued expenses related to capital expenditures

99

347

(466)

197

Other, net

(77)

(42)

(67)

(49)

Net cash flows from investing activities

(2,369)

(1,843)

(5,107)

(3,555)

CASH FLOWS FROM FINANCING ACTIVITIES:

Borrowings of long-term debt

2,699

2,506

5,628

7,146

Repayments of long-term debt

(1,315)

(2,054)

(3,500)

(5,529)

Payments for debt issuance costs

(17)

(21)

(17)

(42)

Purchase of treasury stock

(1,664)

(3,328)

(2,281)

(4,223)

Proceeds from exercise of stock options

7

14

43

86

Purchase of noncontrolling interest

(201)

(402)

(328)

(429)

Distributions to noncontrolling interest

(37)

(37)

(76)

(75)

Other, net

(2)

(6)

(5)

(8)

Net cash flows from financing activities

(530)

(3,328)

(536)

(3,074)

NET INCREASE (DECREASE) IN CASH AND CASH EQUIVALENTS

197

(2,226)

152

(841)

CASH AND CASH EQUIVALENTS, beginning of period

576

2,920

621

1,535

CASH AND CASH EQUIVALENTS, end of period

$ 773

$ 694

$ 773

$ 694

CASH PAID FOR INTEREST

$ 882

$ 761

$ 1,889

$ 1,653

CASH PAID FOR TAXES

$ 21

$ 32

$ 22

$ 33

CHARTER COMMUNICATIONS, INC. AND SUBSIDIARIES

UNAUDITED SUMMARY OF OPERATING STATISTICS

(in thousands, except per customer and penetration data)

Approximate as of

June 30,

2018 (b)

March 31,

2018 (a)(b)

December 31,

2017 (a)(b)

June 30,

2017 (a)(b)

Footprint (c)

Estimated Video Passings

50,364

50,165

49,973

49,500

Estimated Internet Passings

50,149

49,947

49,727

49,228

Estimated Voice Passings

49,532

49,265

48,995

48,472

Penetration Statistics (d)

Video Penetration of Estimated Video Passings

33.1 %

33.4 %

33.7 %

34.2 %

Internet Penetration of Estimated Internet Passings

49.1 %

48.8 %

48.2 %

47.5 %

Voice Penetration of Estimated Voice Passings

22.9 %

23.0 %

23.2 %

23.2 %

Customer Relationships (e)

Residential

25,871

25,730

25,499

25,157

Small and Medium Business

1,750

1,695

1,662

1,580

Total Customer Relationships

27,621

27,425

27,161

26,737

Residential

Primary Service Units (“PSUs”)

Video

16,206

16,279

16,400

16,502

Internet

23,070

22,852

22,518

22,005

Voice

10,325

10,370

10,424

10,375

49,601

49,501

49,342

48,882

Quarterly Net Additions/(Losses)

Video

(73)

(121)

2

(91)

Internet

218

334

263

230

Voice

(45)

(54)

23

14

100

159

288

153

Single Play (f)

10,694

10,577

10,341

10,062

Double Play (f)

6,633

6,537

6,473

6,467

Triple Play (f)

8,544

8,616

8,685

8,628

Single Play Penetration (g)

41.3 %

41.1 %

40.6 %

40.0 %

Double Play Penetration (g)

25.6 %

25.4 %

25.4 %

25.7 %

Triple Play Penetration (g)

33.0 %

33.5 %

34.1 %

34.3 %

% Residential Non-Video Customer Relationships

37.4 %

36.7 %

35.7 %

34.4 %

Monthly Residential Revenue per Residential Customer (h)

$ 111.88

$ 111.41

$ 110.74

$ 109.99

Small and Medium Business

PSUs

Video

476

460

450

423

Internet

1,552

1,503

1,470

1,390

Voice

994

957

930

863

3,022

2,920

2,850

2,676

Quarterly Net Additions/(Losses)

Video

16

10

12

15

Internet

49

33

41

39

Voice

37

27

32

39

102

70

85

93

Monthly Small and Medium Business Revenue per Customer (i)

$ 176.96

$ 178.84

$ 181.57

$ 190.37

Enterprise PSUs (j)

Enterprise PSUs

235

228

220

202

(a)

Since the closing of the TWC and Bright House transactions in May 2016, Charter has reported its customer data and results using legacy company reporting methodologies. During the second quarter of 2018, Charter implemented certain reporting changes on a retrospective basis which allowed for the recasting of historical customer data and results using consistent definitions and reporting methodologies across all three legacy companies.

The changes to previously reported customer data and results occurred primarily within legacy TWC and legacy Bright House and include:

(i) the reclassification of certain customer types, particularly universities, from residential where they were previously reported based on the number of billed units in a bulk contract to small and medium business accounts where they are reported based on the number of physical sites;

(ii) the recasting of small and medium business and enterprise PSUs which were previously reported based on billing relationships to now being reported based on the number of physical sites; and

(iii) the reclassification of fiber video service from small and medium business to enterprise.

TWC Hawaii customer statistics are expected to move to Charter’s standard methodology in early 2019 and variances, if any, will be disclosed at that time.

(b)

We calculate the aging of customer accounts based on the monthly billing cycle for each account. On that basis, at June 30, 2018, March 31, 2018, December 31, 2017 and June 30, 2017, actual customers include approximately 227,500, 190,700, 248,900 and 214,100 customers, respectively, whose accounts were over 60 days past due, approximately 19,300, 17,200, 20,600 and 15,800 customers, respectively, whose accounts were over 90 days past due and approximately 13,200, 13,400, 13,200 and 9,000 customers, respectively, whose accounts were over 120 days past due.

(c)

Passings represent our estimate of the number of units, such as single family homes, apartment and condominium units and small and medium business and enterprise sites passed by our cable distribution network in the areas where we offer the service indicated. These estimates are based upon the information available at this time and are updated for all periods presented when new information becomes available.

(d)

Penetration represents residential and small and medium business customers as a percentage of estimated passings for the service indicated.

(e)

Customer relationships include the number of customers that receive one or more levels of service, encompassing video, Internet and voice services, without regard to which service(s) such customers receive. Customers who reside in residential multiple dwelling units (“MDUs”) and that are billed under bulk contracts are counted based on the number of billed units within each bulk MDU. Total customer relationships excludes enterprise customer relationships.

(f)

Single play, double play and triple play customers represent customers that subscribe to one, two or three of Charter service offerings, respectively.

(g)

Single play, double play and triple play penetration represents the number of residential single play, double play and triple play customers, respectively, as a percentage of residential customer relationships.

(h)

Monthly residential revenue per residential customer is calculated as total residential video, Internet and voice quarterly revenue divided by three divided by average residential customer relationships during the respective quarter.

(i)

Monthly small and medium business revenue per customer is calculated as total small and medium business quarterly revenue divided by three divided by average small and medium business customer relationships during the respective quarter.

(j)

Enterprise PSUs represents the aggregate number of fiber service offerings counting each separate service offering at each customer location as an individual PSU.

CHARTER COMMUNICATIONS, INC. AND SUBSIDIARIES

UNAUDITED RECONCILIATION OF NON-GAAP MEASURES TO GAAP MEASURES

(dollars in millions)

Three Months Ended June 30,

Six Months Ended June 30,

2018

2017

2018

2017

Consolidated net income

$ 339

$ 195

$ 562

$ 406

Plus: Interest expense, net

878

749

1,729

1,462

Income tax expense

41

48

69

73

Depreciation and amortization

2,592

2,595

5,302

5,145

Stock compensation expense

70

65

142

134

Loss on extinguishment of debt

1

35

Loss on financial instruments, net

75

70

12

32

Other, net

56

124

128

214

Adjusted EBITDA (a)

$ 4,051

$ 3,847

$ 7,944

$ 7,501

Net cash flows from operating activities

$ 3,096

$ 2,945

$ 5,795

$ 5,788

Less: Purchases of property, plant and equipment

(2,391)

(2,148)

(4,574)

(3,703)

Change in accrued expenses related to capital expenditures

99

347

(466)

197

Free cash flow

$ 804

$ 1,144

$ 755

$ 2,282

(a)

See page 1 of this addendum for detail of the components included within Adjusted EBITDA.

The above schedule is presented in order to reconcile Adjusted EBITDA and free cash flows, both non-GAAP measures, to the most directly comparable GAAP measures in accordance with Section 401(b) of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act.

CHARTER COMMUNICATIONS, INC. AND SUBSIDIARIES

UNAUDITED CAPITAL EXPENDITURES

(dollars in millions)

Three Months Ended June 30,

Six Months Ended June 30,

2018

2017

2018

2017

Customer premise equipment (a)

$ 828

$ 1,017

$ 1,762

$ 1,724

Scalable infrastructure (b)

587

382

1,073

650

Line extensions (c)

353

297

644

545

Upgrade/rebuild (d)

190

145

332

252

Support capital (e)

433

307

763

532

Total capital expenditures

$ 2,391

$ 2,148

$ 4,574

$ 3,703

Capital expenditures included in total related to:

Commercial services

$ 309

$ 335

$ 592

$ 603

All-digital transition

$ 88

$ 5

$ 274

$ 6

Mobile

$ 53

$ —

$ 70

$ —

(a)

Customer premise equipment includes costs incurred at the customer residence to secure new customers and revenue generating units, including customer installation costs and customer premise equipment (e.g., set-top boxes and cable modems).

(b)

Scalable infrastructure includes costs, not related to customer premise equipment, to secure growth of new customers and revenue generating units, or provide service enhancements (e.g., headend equipment).

(c)

Line extensions include network costs associated with entering new service areas (e.g., fiber/coaxial cable, amplifiers, electronic equipment, make-ready and design engineering).

(d)

Upgrade/rebuild includes costs to modify or replace existing fiber/coaxial cable networks, including betterments.

(e)

Support capital includes costs associated with the replacement or enhancement of non-network assets due to technological and physical obsolescence (e.g., non-network equipment, land, buildings and vehicles).

SOURCE Charter Communications, Inc.

Related Links

http://www.charter.com

The best Vodafone broadband deals in July 2018

We know what you may be thinking – “since when did Vodafone do broadband deals?” Well it’s been around three years since the mobile phone network entered the rat-race of providing home internet and it’s proving itself to be one of the most cost effective exponents of cheap broadband on the UK market.

We know what you may be thinking – “since when did Vodafone do broadband deals?” Well it’s been around three years since the mobile phone network entered the rat-race of providing home internet and it’s proving itself to be one of the most cost effective exponents of cheap broadband on the UK market. You can get the best Vodafone broadband deals from its website.

Vodafone has some of the most fantastic prices for superfast fibre broadband around, which immediately gets on board. But on top of that, it has recently announced that it will become the first UK internet provider to guarantee its minimum speeds, with discounted bills available if it fails to live up to the promise. Top marks for that!

If you already know the Vodafone internet deal you want, it’s easy to select it from our comparison tool above. But if you’re still deciding, then scroll down for more information about what it offers.

See also: Broadband deals | BT broadband deals | Virgin broadband deals | Sky broadband deals | Fibre broadband deals | Broadband and TV deals


Vodafone broadband packages compared – what broadband speed can I get with Vodafone?

Vodafone offers only two different speed options, having completely ditched standard ADSL altogether. It now exclusively sells fibre broadband. What you decide to get will depend on your budget and home internet use:

Vodafone Superfast 1

Vodafone Superfast 1 is among the cheapest fibre broadband deals on the market right now. The monthly payments are super cheap and there are no activation or delivery fees to pay upfront. So pop your postcode in our comparison chart at the top of the page, to see whether your home can get Vodafone’s 38Mb speeds. Vodafone Superfast 1 includes:

Up to 38Mb speedGuaranteed minimum speed of 25MbVodafone Broadband routerUnlimited data usageHome phone lineSix months’ free F-Secure SAFE antivirus

Vodafone Superfast 2

An extra fiver a month allows you to crank up the speed to a maximum of 76Mb (9.5MB per second). That’s money well spent if you have a house full of people all trying to use the internet at once, or have a penchant for streaming the latest 4K Ultra HD films and box-sets. Again, for the speeds you get, this is excellent value. Vodafone Superfast 2 includes:

Up to 76Mb speedGuaranteed ninimum speed of 55MbVodafone Broadband routerUnlimited data usageHome phone lineSix months’ free F-Secure SAFE antivirus

To sign up to any of these packages, you can head to the Vodafone website.

Can I add call plans to Vodafone broadband?

Vodafone used to stick to offering broadband only, but has now begun to allow you to add call packages too. For a few pounds more a month you can add unlimited evening and weekend calls, while its Anytime Landline and Mobile package is close to a tenner per month extra. There’s also an international bolt-on you can add if you have friends and family in distance climes.

To add a broadband and phone plan, you have to choose your internet deal first and then Vodafone will let you add your chosen calling package.


Does Vodafone do any broadband and TV deals?

If you’re looking for a one-stop shop for broadband and TV plans, then you’ll have to keep hunting. Vodafone doesn’t currently offer these add-ons (although Vodafone TV may not be far away…). Head to our best broadband and TV deals guide and use the comparison chart to narrow down your ideal all-round package.

What is the Ultra-Smart Vodafone Connect Router?

This is the free router you get when you sign up for Vodafone fibre broadband. You don’t even have to pay to have it delivered! You can control the router from your mobile if you download Vodafone’as app, which lets you see who’s connected and change your Wi-Fi password.

Another rather nice touch is that the router’s LED lights (which can often be something of an irritant out the corner of your eye) can be turned off, or only come on when you pass your hand over them.

How long will my Vodafone broadband contract last?

This is very straightforward indeed – all Vodafone broadband contracts last for 18 months. So if you’re adamant on only committing to your internet provider for a year, then you’ll have to continue your search for cheap broadband deals.

To transfer to Vodafone now, head to our comparison table at the top of this page and narrow down your perfect plan. Alternatively, you can head straight to the Vodafone website.

Canon’s new PowerShot SX740 HS puts superzoom in your pocket

Canon has today announced the launch of the latest travel compact in its range, the PowerShot SX740 HS, replacing PowerShot SX730 HS that was released last year.

Like it predecessor, the SX740 HS comes packing a 40x optic zoom (equivalent to 24-960mm in 35mm terms) and a 20.3MP 1/2.3-type (6.17 x 4.55 mm) back-illuminated CMOS sensor.

Canon has today announced the launch of the latest travel compact in its range, the PowerShot SX740 HS, replacing PowerShot SX730 HS that was released last year.

Like it predecessor, the SX740 HS comes packing a 40x optic zoom (equivalent to 24-960mm in 35mm terms) and a 20.3MP 1/2.3-type (6.17 x 4.55 mm) back-illuminated CMOS sensor.

However, Canon has finally let go of its penchant for including just Full HD video capture in its cameras, adding 4K Ultra HD video capabilities to the SX740 HS, which includes a 4K time lapse mode, with both allowing frame grabs of about 8MP in size.

The new travel compact also features Canon’s powerful Digic 8 image processor for speedy autofocus and a continuous burst speed of up to 10fps.

ISO sensitivity ranges from 80 to 3200, with a maximum of ISO 1600 in auto mode, and shutter speeds range from 1/3200 second to 15 seconds.

Is that a camera in your pocket or…?

If you think a 40x zoom isn’t enough to take you closer to the action, then Canon’s ZoomPlus feature gives you 80x of digital zoom, but you’ll need to be prepared to sacrifice some image quality if you go beyond the reach of the optical zoom.

To keep things steady, however, Canon has added 5-axis image stabilization, which provides up to 3-stops of camera shake compensation.

The SX740 HS also shares the 3.0-inch tilting LCD display with its predecessor, which turns all the way around to face forward, making good use of the Self Portrait mode on the camera.

To make taking pictures quick and easy, the SX749 HS comes with a range of automatic settings, which include a Smart Auto shooting mode that has 29 scenes pre-programmed for auto detection.

An Hybrid Auto mode automatically creates a short movie with the day’s photos, while the Zoom Framing Assist adjusts the zoom or the focus to achieve the best composition.

There’s also Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity for easy transfer of images from camera to handheld device and a built-in flash that has a range from 50cm to between 2m and 4m, depending on the zoom position.

However, it does not support RAW file capture.

The Canon PowerShot SX740 HS will be available from August in the US and the UK for $399.99 and £344.99, respectively.

In Australia, though, the SX740 HS will go on sale in early September and the price will be “set at dealer discretion”. If the price of the SX730 HS is anything to go buy, we can expect the Australian price to be at over the AU$500 mark.

Best travel camera 2018: 10 compact models perfect for your vacationBest bridge camera 2018: 10 cameras that pack huge zoom lenses

The best BT broadband deals in July 2018

Our favourite BT broadband deal:

BT is one of the first names you think of when choosing a broadband provider and its range of packages is varied. If you want BT internet, you can narrow down the best deals above – enter your postcode and we’ll do the rest.

Our favourite BT broadband deal:

BT is one of the first names you think of when choosing a broadband provider and its range of packages is varied. If you want BT internet, you can narrow down the best deals above – enter your postcode and we’ll do the rest.

We’ve found all of the cheapest prices currently on offer for standard speed internet and BT Superfast fibre broadband – just pop in your postcode above and we’ll do the rest. And if you want more than just broadband, we’ll show you the best phone and television deals, too. Down the page, we’ll answer some commonly asked questions about BT internet.

See also:Broadband deals | Sky broadband deals | Virgin broadband deals | Fibre broadband deals

BT broadband packages compared – which is the best for me?

All BT broadband deals now feature unlimited data allowances. So the main choice you’ll face with BT is what speed to go for. Standard ADSL broadband gives speeds of up to 17Mb which will probably give you a max download speed of around 2MB per second. Upgrade to BT Superfast – the company’s fibre optic offering – and you can choose between 52Mb and a super fast 76Mb.

After that, you can pay more to add home phone options and a TV subscription – although you may find some package bargains around Black Friday time. The latter includes a YouView box and access to the BT TV package of your choice – more on which below.

BT Unlimited Broadband
BT’s most affordable broadband offer gives up to 17Mb speed – that’s just over 2MB per second. That should still be plenty fast enough to let you browse the web, stream music and watch interruption-free catch-up TV. But it may struggle to cope with larger households all using the internet at once. BT Unlimited Broadband includes:

Up to 17Mb speedBT Home Hub 4 router100GB of BT cloud storageBT Virus Protect for two devices

BT Superfast Fibre Unlimited
If fibre broadband is available where you live and you have a few extra pounds to spare a month, we’d recommend cranking up the speed to BT’s least expensive Superfast deal. At 52Mb (roughly 6.5MB/s), it’s got the legs to seamlessly deliver HD video and fast downloads, even when there are a few of you using it. BT Superfast Fibre Unlimited includes:

Up to 52Mb speedBT Smart Hub100GB of BT cloud storageBT Virus Protect for two devices

BT Superfast Fibre 2 Unlimited
If you demand extremely fast downloads and stream 4K films and TV, then BT’s fastest broadband (76Mb) is well worth considering – especially if you’ve got a bustling household all trying to log in at once. It’s pricey, but BT sweetens the deal with some added extras. BT Superfast Fibre 2 Unlimited includes:

Up to 76Mb speedBT Smart Hub500GB of BT cloud storageBT Virus Protect for 15 devices

What BT router will I get?

BT throws in a router for free (although you’ll have to pay for the delivery). The quality of router you receive will depend on the package you choose.

BT Home Hub Go for standard BT Unlimited Broadband and you’ll get the basic Home Hub 4. You’ve probably seen it sneakily peering at you from around corners in the homes of umpteen friends and families, although its dimensions are sleek enough that you should be able to stow it somewhere subtle without too much trouble. As well as wi-fi, you can also connect to it via an ethernet cable. It’s perfectly functional, but doesn’t have the same strength as the…

BT Smart Hub Pay £65 extra or upgrade to BT Superfast and you’ll receive the more powerful Smart Hub. BT claims that it gives out the UK’s most powerful wi-fi signal among the routers sent out by other major providers. Handy if you live in a big house or like to use your phone or laptop out in the garden.

Alternatively, you can stick with your existing router. But unless you’ve shelled out a lot for your current model, you’re probably better off swallowing the delivery charge and using the BT Home Hub or Smart Hub. That way, if anything goes wrong, you’ll be able to use their tech support.

How long will the contract be?

Take BT broadband, and you’ll be tied into a 18 month contract. After that, your monthly cost will go up by around a tenner. To encourage you to hang around, you can’t use your BT router with any other broadband provider so you’ll need to pay for a new one when you move on.

Are there any BT broadband AND TV deals?

There are three TV packages that you can add to your BT internet package, but you’ll need to sign up for 12 months:

Starter BT is chucking in its Starter TV package if you get Superfast – which includes 80 channels, together with BT’s entry-level YouView box. It costs extra if you go for standard broadband.

Entertainment Plus You can splash out an extra few quid a month for BT’s Entertainment Plus package. This includes 110 channels and a YouView+ box to record up to 300 hours.

Total Entertainment If you’re totally addicted to films and box sets, then it may be worth spending £15-ish a month on Total Entertainment. This is a must if you have a 4K TV, as BT throws in its YouView+ Ultra HD box. It can record 600 hours of video to help you keep abreast of the 141 channels it gives you access to.

What about BT Sport?

Until recently, BT Sport came free with every BT internet plan. That’s come to an end now…you’ll have to pay an extra £3.50 a month to get access to Premier League football, Ashes cricket, top-flight rugby union and exclusive UFC action. Keep your eyes peeled however, as BT does run the occasional promotion where you can still get BT Sport for free.

Can I make calls from a landline?

You can indeed. No matter which BT broadband package you opt for, you get a landline phone number with unlimited weekend calls to other UK landlines. If you prefer nattering in the evening you can pay extra for unlimited landline calls between 7pm and 7am. While more still lets you make as many landline calls as you want at any time of the day. You’ll be covered by free BT Call Protect as well, which will help to halt nuisance calls.

Can I add BT Mobile?

To goad you into bringing all your devices over to BT, it’s offering £5 a month off your monthly mobile phone tariff. BT Mobile has deals on all the biggest and newest handsets, including iPhones and Samsung Galaxys. In particular, that makes BT pretty competitive when it comes to SIM only deals.

What is BT cloud storage?

If you find yourself running out of storage space on your phone, tablet or laptop or want to back up your files, BT has its own cloud storage solution. With BT Unlimited Broadband and Superfast Fibre, you’ll get 100GB – that’s enough room for around 25,000 songs, 140 films or 100,000 photos. It’s 500GB if you go for Superfast 2, which should be sufficient to store the music and photo collections of you and your family.

What is BT Virus Protect?

All BT broadband packages include BT’s internet security tool, BT Virus Protect. As well as promising to vanquish viruses, it features BT Web Protect to flag phishing scams, BT Parental Controls to help you limit the websites your children can see and True Key for easy management of your passwords. As well as your main computer, you can apply BT Virus Protect to one other laptop, phone or tablet if you go for Broadband Unlimited or Superfast Fibre. While Fibre 2 lets you protect up to 15 devices. We still think you should get dedicated internet security however – check out our pick of the best antivirus software.

What’s a BT wi-fi hotspot?

BT has dotted five million wi-fi hotspots around the UK and 18 million around the globe. As a BT Broadband customer, you’ll have access to every one of them. So if you’re on your laptop in a cafe or checking maps on your phone and see that BT Wi-fi is available, you can jump on for free.

Are there any other perks to getting BT broadband?

As well as the discounted mobile tariffs and cut price BT Sport, BT is luring in new customers with a BT Reward Card. This online exclusive means you can claim a prepaid Mastercard cash card if you sign up to BT Broadband.

The sum on the Reward Card changes regularly, but is usually in excess of £50 –
and sometimes as much as £150. The amount on the card is always more with one of the BT Superfast packages.

Is BT broadband any good?

BT relies a lot on its enduring reputation as the most recognisable name in telecommunications, and it remains the most widely used broadband provider in the UK. But that doesn’t necessarily equate to quality. Although it can offer competitive prices and bespoke internet, phone and TV packages, it often sits at the bottom of the list when it comes to customer satisfaction surveys.

How to use the BT broadband checker?

Much like our postcode checker above, BT has its own broadband checker. Pop in your address and phone number and it will let you know what speeds you can expect with BT internet and whether its Superfast broadband is available in your area. If fibre isn’t yet available, you can sign up to BT’s mailing list so that they’ll give you a shout when the cables have been installed.

How do I contact the BT broadband helpline?

If you need help with your broadband or set-up, BT doesn’t exactly make it easy for you to speak to them on the phone. It seems to prefer for you to go through its online support. But if you’re determined to speak to a human, there is a 24/7 number available. Dial 0800-111-4567 if you’re using a landline in the UK, 0330-123-4567 from your mobile or +44179-359-6931 if you’re out of the country.

The best Sky broadband deals in July 2018

Sky used to be known best for its TV service, but now its just as synonymous with home broadband internet. Sky broadband is one of the most popular providers in the UK.

Sky used to be known best for its TV service, but now its just as synonymous with home broadband internet. Sky broadband is one of the most popular providers in the UK. So whether you want broadband only, or a package of Sky TV and broadband, we’ll help you find your way to the best broadband deal.

Our postcode checker above will tell you whether the faster Sky Fibre is available in your area. The good news is that Sky has some great prices. And keep scrolling down the page to discover more information about Sky broadband.

Prefer to order by phone? Then call 08000-142-334 and speak to an adviser dedicated to Sky broadband deals.

See also:Broadband deals | BT broadband deals | Virgin broadband deals | Fibre broadband deals

Sky broadband plans compared – what broadband speed can I get with Sky?

Even before you start thinking about whether you want to add Sky TV or mobile to your internet package, you’ll need to decide what speed and data usage best suits your household. Consider whether you want to crank up the speed – and price – with a fibre broadband package.

Sky Broadband Unlimited

If you simply want basic broadband for checking your emails and using the web, then Sky’s entry-level Broadband Unlimited deal is one of the cheapest on the market. With download speeds averaging 10Mb (that’s around 1MB per second) it may struggle a little with streaming, especially if there are lots of devices trying to use it at once. Sky Broadband Unlimited includes:

Avg 17Mb speedSky Q Hub routerUnlimited data usageSky Broadband Shield

Sky Fibre Unlimited

The name’s a bit of a giveaway. It’s Sky’s super fast fibre package and make the data usage unlimited. It’s quite a big jump in price and you’ll be tied into an 18 month contract, but if you’ve got a data hungry household that are all simultaneously downloading, streaming and browsing, you’ll be glad of the extra speed. Sky Fibre Unlimited includes:

Avg 36Mb speedSky Q Hub routerUnlimited data usageSky Broadband Shield

Sky Fibre Max

This is the daddy of the Sky broadband family. The provider cranks up the speed to up to 58Mb, which equates to download speeds of roughly 7MB per second. Rapid. Sky Fibre Max includes:

Avg 58Mb speedSky Q Hub routerUnlimited data usageSky Broadband Shield

Can I order Sky broadband deals over the phone?

You sure can. Bash in the digits 08000-142-334 and talk to an adviser. They will take you through the purchase over the phone if you’d sooner not do it online.

Can I add any Sky TV packages deals?

When you sign up for Sky broadband, the sales pitch for Sky TV quickly follows. As a minimum, you’ll have to spend around £20 to add Sky Entertainment and then you can add further channels from there. Whatever you choose it comes with a Sky Q box, which lets you record up to 1TB worth of programming – that’s around 500 hours – and you can choose from the following bundles:

Entertainment Sky’s most affordable TV bundle throws in around 100 channels, including Sky Atlantic, Sky One and Sky Living. This is the base layer to which you can add one or more (or none) of the following.

Sky Cinema Whatever your film tastes, the eleven Sky Cinema channels are likely to have you covered. From Disney and Family to Thriller and Comedy.

Sky Sports Unless it’s on special offer, you’ll have to pay about an extra £20 a month to add Sky’s suite of sport channels. There are dedicated channels for football, cricket, golf and F1, while the main event station carries the headline events of the day.

Kids If there are children in the household, an extra fiver or so a month bags 10+ kids channels and thousands of on-demand episodes of children’s TV. And then there’s the Sky Kids app which features even more shows and games.

Box Sets If you spend your evenings binging on box sets, a fiver a month gives you immediate access to more than 350.

What is the Sky Q Hub router?

All Sky broadband plans now come with a Sky Q Hub. It’s a little bit on the chunky side, but that translates into a more powerful router. If you’re desperate for fast downloads, it connect to 5GHz channels and it has the capacity to connect 64 laptops, tablets, phones and other devices.

How long will my Sky broadband contract last?

If you go for Sky’s most affordable Broadband Unlimited plan, you’ll get a one year contract. With all of the Fibre packages, you’ll be tied into an 18 month commitment to Sky. You may not wish to be tied into a contract that long, but at least you’ll know what you’ll be paying for longer.

Sky Talk – do I get a Sky phone line?

The price you pay for Sky Broadband also includes Sky Line Rental, which lets you retain your existing home phone number.

You can pay an extra premium for a Sky Talk allowance – for example, Sky Talk Evenings and Weekends allows unlimited calls during those windows (evenings are defined as 7pm-7am), Sky Talk Anytime Extra for as many calls as you wish to UK landlines at any time and Sky Talk International Extra if you have friends or family living overseas.

Sky Talk customers also get the benefit of the Sky Talk Shield. It gives you greater control over blocking unwanted calls and numbers.

Do I get Sky email?

If you want it, you’ll be assigned with a Sky Yahoo! Mail account. You can access this email account on any computer, smartphone or tablet – not just your home PC or laptop.

What is Sky WiFi?

As a Sky broadband customer, you’ll get access to unlimited usage of Sky’s wi-fi hotspots that are dotted around the UK. You can connect up to six devices to the thousands of hotspot locations, which include popular coffee and restaurant chains.

What is Sky Broadband Shield?

Access to Sky Broadband Shield is included with every internet plan and adds a layer of security to your online life at home. As well as seeking out malware and phishing scam attempts, the Shield includes parental controls so you can make sure your children aren’t landing on websites they shouldn’t.

Sky broadband help and the Switch Squad

There’s a multitude of online guides, help and support on the Sky website, but you can call Sky Help as well to discuss your broadband on 0330-041-4376.

If you’re having difficulty switching to Sky broadband, the company has a dedicated so-called Switch Squad to get you transferred over from your current broadband provider.

To transfer to Sky Broadband now, you can order online at the Sky Shop.

ABI Research’s Spring/Summer Webinar Series Replays Now Available

OYSTER BAY, N.Y., July 30, 2018 /PRNewswire/ — The spring/summer Transformative Technologies Webinar Series has concluded and to keep you up-to-date about how transformative technologies impact your business, ABI Research, a market-foresight advisory firm providing strategic guidance on the most compelling transformative technologies, just announced that all the webinar replays are now available for complimentary download.

OYSTER BAY, N.Y., July 30, 2018 /PRNewswire/ — The spring/summer Transformative Technologies Webinar Series has concluded and to keep you up-to-date about how transformative technologies impact your business, ABI Research, a market-foresight advisory firm providing strategic guidance on the most compelling transformative technologies, just announced that all the webinar replays are now available for complimentary download.

If you missed one, or simply want to revisit a topic you found interesting, click here, or on any of the replay links from the list below:

May 16 – Understanding an Uncertain Augmented Reality MarketJune 7 – 5G for Consumer and Industrial ApplicationsJune 13 – The Future of Wi-Fi: New Markets and Increased Technology CompetitionJune 19 – Smart Home Data: A Golden Goose Egg or Privacy Invasion?June 20 – Mobile Innovation and Investment: Market Shapers and Those in the SlipstreamJune 27 – The Retail Revolution: Will Robotics and AI Save Bricks and Mortar?July 11 – Market Forces Driving Edge AI: Enabling Technologies, Value Proposition, and Key Use Cases

As a bonus, ABI Research is also highlighting three whitepapers in support of our past webinars:

Automated Living: The Merging of Smart Mobility, Smart Cities and Smart HomeThe Rise & Outlook of Antennas in 5GAre Mobile Service Providers Doomed to Marginalization?

Stay tuned for more information about our upcoming Fall 2018 Transformative Technologies Webinar Series!

About ABI Research

ABI Research provides strategic guidance for visionaries needing market foresight on the most compelling transformative technologies, which reshape workforces, identify holes in a market, create new business models and drive new revenue streams. ABI’s own research visionaries take stances early on those technologies, publishing groundbreaking studies often years ahead of other technology advisory firms. ABI analysts deliver their conclusions and recommendations in easily and quickly absorbed formats to ensure proper context. Our analysts strategically guide visionaries to take action now and inspire their business to realize a bigger picture. For more information about ABI Research’s forecasting, consulting and teardown services, visionaries can contact us at +1.516.624.2500 in the Americas, +44.203.326.0140 in Europe, +65.6592.0290 in Asia-Pacific or visit www.abiresearch.com.

Contact Info:

Global

Deborah Petrara

Christopher Leary

Tel: +1.516.624.2558

Tel: +1.516.624.2544

pr@abiresearch.com

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Galaxy S9 battery life isn’t as good as we had hoped – CNET

I had high hopes for the Galaxy S9 ‘s and Galaxy S9 Plus ‘ battery life when Samsung announced the two phones in late February.

I had high hopes for the Galaxy S9 ‘s and Galaxy S9 Plus ‘ battery life when Samsung announced the two phones in late February.

Despite the fact that the Galaxy S9 and S9 Plus have the same battery capacities as last year’s Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus — that’s 3,000mAh and 3,500mAh respectively — I expected them to exceed 2017’s phones in battery life. Or at least unquestionably meet the same standard.

The main reason for that expectation is the Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 processor that lives inside the Galaxy S9 and S9 Plus phones in the US and other countries. Samsung equips the Galaxy phones in some regions with its house-made Exynos chip, but it’s the Snapdragon 845 we tested most.

Qualcomm promised that its Snapdragon 845 chipset would deliver 30 percent greater power efficiency than 2017’s Snapdragon 835 chipset, which drove the Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus. Those stated battery savings imply that the Galaxy S9 and larger S9 Plus would run longer on a single charge than those two S8 phones, which use the Snapdragon 835 chip.

Instead, the Galaxy S9’s battery cut out sooner than the Galaxy S8 phones in our looping video battery drain test. The Galaxy S9 Plus fared better, outlasting the Galaxy S8 Plus in our battery tests, but only by a 4 percent margin. And even that gain is far smaller than the optimal battery savings suggested by the Snapdragon 845 chip. (See details below.)

Granted, our video lab test is a very specific indicator of performance; it doesn’t paint the full picture of phone use, like loading up websites and downloading images, streaming videos and navigating in Google Maps. And it doesn’t guard against phonemakers that “optimize” their software for precisely this kind of assessment. But our test does provide a baseline that’s useful for comparison, one that goes beyond casual observation.

On the other hand, pure observation showed that both Galaxy S9 and S9 Plus phones drained much slower than the Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8 Plus when I wasn’t actively using them (that’s good). Again, I break all of this down below, so stick with me.

I’ve kept an eye on battery drain since I began using the Galaxy S9 Plus almost exclusively this March. And while the phone will last me from morning to night on a single charge, I’m disappointed that either the Galaxy S9 Plus isn’t taking advantage of the Snapdragon 845’s promised battery boost, or the chip is perhaps only theoretically more efficient.


33
21 hidden Galaxy S9 and S9 Plus features

The party to “blame” is hard to parse out since software and hardware work together to manage the phone’s battery resources.

Now, read on for lab test results, idle drain comparisons and what you can do to manage a Galaxy S9 phone’s battery life.

Galaxy S9 and S9 Plus lab test results

We put three different Galaxy S9 units (one with the Exynos processor) and four Galaxy S9 Plus phones through our video drain test. Some of these phones were loaned to us by Samsung, some we purchased. The results were all over the map, which frustrated us incredibly, so we ran the tests over and over again.

The numbers below represent the average of the Galaxy battery drain test results — minus the Exynos unit — compared with our average results from multiple Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus devices. Note that the Galaxy S8 and S9 phones have the same screen size: 5.8 inches for the smaller devices and 6.2 inches for the Plus versions. The comparable screen size means that no phone automatically draws more power to light up a larger screen than the generation before.

The chart also shows how many hours of battery life we’d expect to get compared with the Galaxy S8 scores, assuming that we saw a 30 percent boost in power efficiency from the Snapdragon 845 processor (that’s a theoretical number; real-world results are often lower).

*Looping video in airplane mode, screen brightness and headphone volume set to 50 percent (default resolution)

Finally, you see the battery gains and losses from our tests compared with last year’s Galaxy S8 results. The Galaxy S9 died sooner than last year’s Galaxy S8 (a change of -3.1 percent) and the Galaxy S9 Plus yielded 4 percent better battery life over the Galaxy S8 Plus; an improvement, but not the knockout we had hoped for.

We also ran battery tests on a Galaxy S9 using Samsung’s Exynos 9810 chipset, for an average of 15 hours, 20 minutes’ run time on a single charge.

What this result means: That the Galaxy S9 and S9 Plus should give you about the same battery life as last year’s Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus when you’re actively using them.

Galaxy S9 battery has better idle drain than the Galaxy S8

If your battery isn’t actively charging, it’s discharging. All phones will lose battery capacity even when you’re not “using” them. That’s referred to as idle drain — the phones are still running apps and processes, checking messages, pinging for data and so forth.

To test out if the Galaxy S9 drained faster or slower than the Galaxy S8, I fully charged both phones, turned brightness to 50 percent, turned on airplane mode and pulled them off the plug at the same time. Then I kept track of their percentages over the course of the next week.

The Galaxy S9 drained significantly slower than the Galaxy S8 over time. After 72 hours, the Galaxy S9 had lost 50 percent of its battery life, whereas the Galaxy S8 had lost 59 percent.

Read more Samsung newsGalaxy S9 battery life isn’t as good as we had hopedNote 9 could be cheaper and filled with copper pipesEcobee’s vision to beat Nest: A hive mind of smart devicesFortnite on Android: See if your phone is getting itSamsung Pay: What you need to know (FAQ)

Seven days after starting the test, the Galaxy S8 battery reserves gasped their last, while this year’s S9 still has 25 percent to go.

What this result means: The one variable I couldn’t account for is how fresh the S8’s battery is. Batteries lose capacity as they age, and the Galaxy S8 had more hours of use over the course of its lifetime than the Galaxy S9 when I started this test, though this particular unit was only lightly used over the last year.

While the idle drain test isn’t scientifically bulletproof, the wide percentage gap suggests that the Galaxy S9 has a longer standby time than the Galaxy S8.

Real-world battery use

The Galaxy S9 Plus loaner phone that I’ve been using nearly every day reliably lasts me from 6 a.m. through 10:30 p.m., though there are nights when the battery reserves hover under 10 percent by the time I go to bed. Other days of lighter use, I might hit the hay with 20 or 30 percent left.

When I’m home, I’m happy to let battery levels approach the brink. A charge is just a few feet away. But when I’m out, a steady slide into the single digits is too risky. I feel compelled to top up the S9 Plus when I know I’m going out.

As on any phone, maps navigation, uploads, downloads, and video and audio streams can rapidly suck up battery reserves. But even after my morning routine of checking in on social media and reading the news, I’d notice that the battery often dropped to 80 percent within 2 hours, and often to the 70 percent range 3 hours after waking up.


37
Best Galaxy Note 9 leaks and render pictures we’ve seen so far

The Galaxy S9 Plus has never died on me before 10:30 p.m., but it’s gotten close.

What this result means: Don’t count on the Galaxy S9 to take you from morning to the wee hours. As with most phones, if you’re looking at a late night, take a charger or battery pack with you or prepare to turn on power-saving mode after hours.

How to make the Galaxy S9 battery last longer (without installing other apps)

No phone is immune to battery drain, and the more heavily you use it (especially streaming media and maps navigation), the faster those power reserves run dry. The Galaxy S9 and S9 Plus have some built-in battery settings to help keep the phone alive longer.

Turn off Wi-Fi and Bluetooth when you aren’t using them.
Turn on Wi-Fi power-saving mode, which will reduce battery usage when you’re not actively on Wi-Fi.
Turn on two levels of power-saving mode. This will decrease brightness, limit your CPU speed (the phone will work a little slower), disable the Always-On display and may drop the screen resolution.
Select apps that don’t draw power when you aren’t actively using them.
Select apps that will never run in the background.

Now Playing:Watch this: Galaxy S9 mostly aces our real-world tests
5:03
Hope for longer battery life is on the horizon

Samsung knows battery life is a flashpoint for buyers, and is already promising long life for its upcoming Galaxy Note 9. The phonemaker teased all-day battery life in a video posted ahead of its August 9 Unpacked event. Clearly, extending battery life is on Samsung’s mind, and we can hope the company is able to make gains with 2018’s Note 9 and 2019’s Galaxy S10.

This story first published July 28 at 4:00am PT and most recently updated July 30 at 2:20pm PT.

Read now: Galaxy S9’s six best features

Read next: 5 worst things about the Galaxy S9

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Halo Smart Labs is folding and your smart alarm smoke will soon turn dumb – CNET

You won’t find the Halo+ Smart Smoke & Carbon Monoxide Alarm with Weather Alerts on store shelves anymore. Halo Smart Labs, the startup behind the $130 smoke detector, has gone out of business.

You won’t find the Halo+ Smart Smoke & Carbon Monoxide Alarm with Weather Alerts on store shelves anymore. Halo Smart Labs, the startup behind the $130 smoke detector, has gone out of business. The company announced the news in an email to its customers on Friday. The news will hit current customers the hardest, as Halo Smart Lab is also discontinuing cloud support for its smart detectors.

The company won’t produce any more of its smoke alarms, and it will discontinue support for the app in the next couple of weeks. If you own a Halo+ Smoke Alarm, note that it will no longer have a direct internet connection once the app stops working. It should still be able to detect smoke and carbon monoxide and sound an alarm, but you won’t get a push alert when it senses something wrong. It will also no longer be aware of the weather.

Both the SmartThings hub and the Iris by Lowe’s hub will continue to support the Halo Alarm, so you can keep the smarts of your smart smoke detector as long as you connect it through one of those bridges. It just won’t be able to connect to Wi-Fi on its own any longer.

That might be cold comfort to current owners of the Halo+ Alarm if they don’t already have one of those hubs. They’ll now be faced with the decision of spending another $70 to $100 to keep their $130 smart detector running, or they’ll simply lose the smarts that compelled them to pay $130 in the first place. The lesson here: buyer beware if you’re purchasing a cloud-supported product from a startup. We’ve seen this happen with other smart home devices, such as the popular Revolv hub and the Edyn Garden Sensor.

Halo+ won me over with an unusual feature for a smoke detector: It would announce inclement weather in addition to alerting you to the usual smoke and carbon monoxide emergencies. I was surprised to find I liked the feature when I reviewed Halo+ last summer. It was fully customizable and particularly useful if you live in an area prone to inclement weather and you like to turn your phone off at night.

The reliable detector could also send you push alerts when it sensed something wrong, and it verbally announced weather, smoke or carbon monoxide alerts before sounding a traditional alarm. Its combination of features and the reasonable $130 price made it one of our favorite alternatives to the Nest Protect. Unfortunately, you now have one less viable option if you want to smarten up the safety of your home.

Now Playing:Watch this: Nest Protect 2.0 is sleeker, smarter
1:13


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Behold, the second-generation Nest Protect (pictures)

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The best Verizon Wireless plans in July 2018

The best Verizon Wireless plans will have you covered whether you just want service for an old-school flip phone or need enough data to stream Netflix for hours on end. Verizon offers a range of prepaid and postpaid plans, including several different unlimited plans, each with a little something different to offer.

The best Verizon Wireless plans will have you covered whether you just want service for an old-school flip phone or need enough data to stream Netflix for hours on end. Verizon offers a range of prepaid and postpaid plans, including several different unlimited plans, each with a little something different to offer.

If you need a lot of data and features like wireless hotspot, you’ll want to look into the unlimited plans. They may not be the best unlimited data plans for individual customers, but the network is great, and the price gets a lot better for multiple users.

If you can get by with a smaller amount of data, Verizon’s shared plans allow you and several others to all access one plan together and save some money in the process.

Whatever your needs, we’ll help you understand Verizon’s best data plans so you can make the right choice.

Jump straight there:View the plans at Verizonwireless.comSee also:The best Verizon Phones available this month

Verizon Wireless unlimited plans: Explained

Verizon offers three tiers of its unlimited plan: Go Unlimited, Beyond Unlimited, and Above Unlimited. All three include unlimited talk and text in the US, Verizon Up rewards, unlimited mobile hotspot, video streaming, and support for talk, text, and data while abroad in Canada or Mexico.

The way these plans differ is in the speeds, 4G LTE data thresholds, and perks they offer. Go Unlimited support mobile hotspots at 600Kbps, while Beyondunlimited offers 15GB of hotspot at 4G LTE speeds, and Above Unlimited steps that up to 20GB. Go Unlimited also limits video playback to DVD quality (480p), but the other tiers support HD (720p) streaming.

The plans handle network congestion differently as well. Go Unlimited may reduce your speeds at any time if the network is congested. Beyond Unlimited offers 22GB of data and Above Unlimited offers 75GB of data at 4G LTE speeds before you should see reduced speeds due to network congestion. Above unlimited also offers 500GB of cloud storage and some extra travel perks.

Small:2GB – $35/MonthMedium:4GB – $50/Month5:5GB – $55/MonthLarge:8GB – $70/MonthGo Unlimited:Unlimited – $75/MonthBeyond Unlimited: Unlimited – $85/MonthAbove Unlimited:Unlimited – $95/MonthThe best Verizon Wireless plans for you

Let’s take a close look at what each of these plans has to offer for the price. Afterward, we’ll also go over some of Verizon’s alternative plans in case these aren’t a fit for you.

Whether you’re a modest web surfer, a heavy Netflix-user, or just pull your phone out a few times a week, there should be a plan to fit your needs.

Verizon Wireless plan: Small | 2GB data | Unlimited calls and texts | $35/Month
If you don’t do a lot of music or movie streaming, this plan will probably be a good choice for you. 2GB is enough data to do regular surfing and watch the occasional YouTube video. It’s also one of Verizon’s cheapest plans, so if you have your budget in mind, look no further. This is a Shared plan, which includes a access charge of $20 per phone added to the plan, including the first phone.

View this plan:at Verizonwireless.com

Verizon Wireless plan: Medium | 4GB data | Unlimited calls and texts | $50/Month
If you think you’re likely to bump up against the 2GB limit on Verizon’s cheaper plan, you may want to consider the 4GB plan. For $15 more, you get an extra 1GB at full 4G LTE speed. Plus, with these plans, you can carryover unused data into the next month, in case you want to save up some data for a new Netflix show. This plan can also be shared and has a $20/line access charge.

View this plan:at Verizonwireless.com

Verizon Wireless plan: 5| 5GB data | Unlimited calls and texts | $55/Month
When 4GB is too small and 8GB is too much, Verizon also offers a 5GB plan for $55 a month plus the $20/line activation fee. This plan is a better fit for two people who will split the data, since it would make more sense for a single customer to get the Go Unlimited plan for $75 with no activation fee.

View this plan:at Verizonwireless.com

Verizon Wireless plan: Large | 8GB | Unlimited calls and texts | $70/Month
If you really can’t hold off on the occasional movie or TV show streamed over your data plan, this might be a reasonable option for you. However, since Verizon’s cheapest Unlimited plan is just $5 more, it may be worth jumping up to that plan and not worrying about how much data you use each month. Like the other Share plans, this one has a $20/line access charge.

View this plan:at Verizonwireless.com

Verizon Wireless Go Unlimited, Beyond Unlimited, and Above Unlimited plans | Unlimited data | Unlimited calls and texts | $75/Month, $85/Month, or $95/Month
Heavy data users who don’t want to worry about running up against data limits, and want to stream TV, movies and music to their hearts’ content may want to go with one of these options. If there’s network congestion, you may get reduced speeds, but it won’t be because you accidentally fell asleep with Netflix streaming and went over your data allotment.

If you don’t want your speed reduced during periods of high network traffic, you may want to get the Beyond Unlimited plan. And, if you want extra Wi-Fi hotspot data and cloud storage, check out the Above Unlimited plan.

These plans also allow you to add extra lines at reduced rates. You can see what you’ll pay with a calculator Verizon provides on its site.

View these plans:at Verizonwireless.com

Verizon Wireless: Prepaid plans

If the above Verizon plans aren’t what you’re looking for, there are also a number of monthly prepaid plans. They all include unlimited talk and text in the US and unlimited text to over 200 international destinations. They also allow data carryover and mobile hotspot usage. They range in price from $30 a month for 500MB to $75 a month for unlimited data comparable to the Go Unlimited plan.

View Verizon Wireless prepaid plans here

If you just have a basic phone and want simple service, Verizon also offers a basic plan with unlimited talk and text and 500MB of data for $30 a month. See that plan here.

Phones are more expensive, unfortunately

Since Verizon Wireless eliminated the two year contract and switch to these new types of plans, it has unfortunately done away with the old subsidies on new phones that came with 2-year contracts.

That means instead of paying a flat $200 for every new phone you get, you’ll have to pay whatever that phone actually retails for. For a new flagship, that can be anywhere from $600 to $1000.

Verizon Wireless does offer installment plans for customers, though. So if you’re shopping for a new phone and plan and have good credit, you can likely find a phone that you’ll be able to pay for over the course of a couple years.

See all available Verizon Wireless phones

Ecobee’s vision to beat Nest: A hive mind of smart devices – CNET

When Rohit Sriram shows me around the audio lab he’s bootstrapped in a back corner of Ecobee’s headquarters in Toronto, I sense a heavy vibe of basement man cave — sans the Pearl Jam poster, bar and mini-fridge.

When Rohit Sriram shows me around the audio lab he’s bootstrapped in a back corner of Ecobee’s headquarters in Toronto, I sense a heavy vibe of basement man cave — sans the Pearl Jam poster, bar and mini-fridge.

Jumbles of wires snake around the floor. A simple, comfy gray couch is in the corner by a 39-inch flat-screen TV. Dark gray sound-absorbing panels line the middle of the windowless walls. There’s also a wooden easel on wheels holding an Ecobee4 smart thermostat and two Ecobee Switch+ smart light switches.

Ecobee, a smart-thermostat maker, has big dreams beyond controlling the temperature in your house. Sriram is part of the team working to achieve those dreams and beat their biggest rival, Nest — the device maker helping drive Google’s smart-home ambitions.

Based on what I’m seeing, it’s going to be a messy fight. There’s a huge opportunity for the winners in this market, with Google, Amazon and Samsung already investing billions to own parts of the new smart home. Analysts predict we’re going to spend a staggering $277 billion on smart home gear — including smart TVs, connected thermostats, lightbulbs and speakers — by 2022.

Sriram, a lanky and enthusiastic 34-year-old product management director, taps a few commands on a keyboard and fires up an audio test. Suddenly, one of the five speakers mounted on stands around the room starts blaring out Happy by Pharrell Williams. Another speaker chimes in with a rotating cast of voices saying, one at a time, “Alexa, add buy Panasonic earbud headphones to my to-do list” and “Alexa, what time is it in Hong Kong?” He’s blasting the Ecobee devices with noise — lots of noise — to make sure the gadgets can pick up voice commands.

Competing against Google — not an easy lifestyle, that’s for sure.
Stephen Baker

Sriram stress-tested the thermostat’s built-in speaker last year by playing a snippet of Adele’s Hello over and over again for a full day. “Our previous audio lab wasn’t soundproof, so engineers and others sitting outside would just go insane,” he says with a big laugh.

An audio lab, even a bare-bones one, at a thermostat company might’ve seemed out of place a few years ago. But the thermostat — a device you probably never even thought about unless it broke — has gotten a major makeover. Smart thermostats from Ecobee, Nest and others now adjust temperatures using artificial intelligence and real-time weather reports. You can also use apps on your smartphones and even your smartwatch to dial up the heat or air conditioning while you’re on your way home.

And, yes, Ecobee’s thermostats now have built-in smart speakers that will play music whenever you like.

It all ties into the plan by Ecobee co-founder and CEO Stuart Lombard to build the “helpful home,” a house that will do more for you by predicting what you might want and help you save on heating and cooling bills.

“Our vision is of this helpful home that listens, learns and responds to your every need,” Lombard tells me during my visit to Ecobee in late May.

Imagine your house almost becoming like a honey bee colony. But instead of bees buzzing around in unison to keep things running, the home’s hive mind is made up of a smart thermostat, temperature sensors, light switches and reams of data.

“These technologies will become a part of home living,” Sotirios Kotsopoulos, a research associate at MIT Design Lab, tells me. “It’s an inevitability.”

While that technological shift may be inevitable, Ecobee’s place in that transformation isn’t a sure thing. For the 370-person company to compete against tech behemoths like Amazon, Apple and Google’s parent, Alphabet — which bought Nest in 2014 — it has to know more about our likes, dislikes and habits than its rivals do.

To do that, Ecobee has figured out more ways for its gadgets to track how we heat, cool and move inside our homes, which it says can make us more comfortable, help the environment and save us money. But company execs know it may be a hard sell to privacy-minded consumers not keen on the idea of sensors, speakers and cameras keeping tabs on us throughout the day to make that “helpful home” happen.

“The key for us is not to try and out-Google Google,” Lombard tells me during my two-day visit to hear Ecobee’s pitch. “Our strategy is really built around focus and innovation. And I think if you look at the thermostat specifically, we’re delivering more innovations to the market faster.”

Check out the extended YouTube cut of CNET’s Ecobee video here.

The Hive

When I arrive at Ecobee’s headquarters, Lombard gives me a quick tour of the place, which is on the sixth floor of an office building overlooking Lake Ontario. The 11-year-old privately held company, which has raised about $150 million in funding to date from Amazon and other investors, just moved into the new space in September.

We walk past clusters of desks sitting on green or blue carpets spread out on the bare concrete floors. Most of the walls are covered with floor-to-ceiling whiteboards, scrawled with fragments of ideas and bits of code. There’s also a ping-pong table, a casual dress code, cleverly named conference rooms and plenty of telltale signs of a Silicon Valley office even though we’re in Toronto.

Ecobee’s name is an homage to honey bees’ ability to regulate their hives’ temperature, so wherever I look, I see references to the insects, like the company’s logo at the front desk and honeycomb-shaped designs on the walls. The headquarters is even nicknamed “The Hive.”

Lombard comes across as an easy-going, approachable 53-year-old who would have fit comfortably in a supportive dad role in a 1990s sitcom. He has short brown hair that’s graying at the temples, wears brown glasses and speaks softly, like we’re in a library.

We chat in a corner of the office’s main lobby and meeting space. It’s when I ask about his family history that I get a sense of what drives him. He tells me about the harrowing early life of his German-born mother during World War II.

I don’t think we’re under any illusions that anyone’s going to do us any favors.
Stuart Lombard

After their house was bombed at the end of the war, his then 13-year-old mother and his grandmother tried to flee Germany. To avoid capture by the quickly approaching Russians, who were known to mistreat Germans, his grandmother pulled out a gun and threatened to shoot herself and her daughter if a British colonel didn’t agree to rescue them. The colonel agreed. His mother eventually managed to get to a refugee camp, then the UK and on to New York, where she met Lombard’s American father.

That story instilled in him — perhaps counterintuitively — a sense of optimism, to not be bowed by challenges. “She had a childhood where she lost everything,” Lombard says about his mother. “It stuck with me, from the perspective of how lucky we are to live in the world that we live in, the society that we live in, and have the opportunities we have.”

Lombard, a Virginia native whose family later settled in Canada, in 1994 co-founded his first startup, the internet service provider InfoRamp, which he took public. In 1996, he became co-CEO of the encryption company Isolation Systems, which he later sold.

He then spent eight years as a venture capitalist But he quit the VC world because he longed to work on his own projects. In between jobs, he’d gotten interested in the environment and set out to reduce his own carbon footprint, spending thousands to buy a Prius and to install solar panels on his roof. He thought consumers needed more ways to help the planet that didn’t cost as much as a new car. So in 2007, Lombard co-founded Ecobee with the goal of inventing a Wi-Fi-connected thermostat that could help people reduce their energy consumption.

A connected thermostat might not seem an obvious place to start, but it made sense to Lombard since practically every house, apartment and office in the world has a thermostat. But despite their names, programmable thermostats can be infuriating to program, so plenty of people don’t do it. Without realizing it, many of us are allowing our thermostats to excessively heat or cool our homes, even when we’re away.

Though none of Ecobee’s founders had any experience with heating and cooling systems, they figured they could do better. Ecobee started selling what it claims was the first ever Wi-Fi-connected thermostat in 2009. It had a touchscreen and could be controlled using a smartphone, but it also cost $385 and its beige, rectangular housings didn’t look much different than far cheaper programmable thermostats.

In 2010, Apple executive Tony Fadell, considered the father of the iPod, started Nest. Though Ecobee got a head start, Fadell and his team jumped way ahead of Ecobee when they introduced the Nest Learning Thermostat in 2011. The Nest featured a sleek, round design and the ability to learn users’ preferences — like automatically lowering the heat at night. And, at $250, it cost a lot less, too. Ecobee responded in 2014 with the Ecobee3. The device matched Nest’s price and caught up in design, thanks to larger display and rounded edges that made it look more like a smartphone than thermostat.

That same year, Google bought Nest for $3.2 billion.

Insect

For now, Nest remains the leader in smart thermostats in the US, taking 73 percent of dollars spent on the gadgets versus Ecobee’s 17 percent, according to market research firm NPD. Honeywell is in third with less than 10 percent.

The interest in these devices is growing thanks to their promise of saving on energy costs, a potentially significant impact since heating and cooling in some states can account for a third or more of a home’s monthly expenses. Ecobee says its thermostats can save customers up to 23 percent on those energy costs. Nest says its device saves 10 percent to 12 percent on heating and 15 percent on cooling, representing an average of $131 to $145 a year. Studies from the Energy Trust of Oregon and some utility companies agree that smart thermostats can cut energy usage.

While Nest has expanded its product line to include smart locks, doorbells, alarm systems and cameras, Ecobee has largely stayed focused on its thermostat, hoping its innovations will help it stand out.

The Ecobee4, which came out last year, doubles as an Amazon Alexa smart speaker, something Nest devices don’t do. In March, Ecobee added a $99 smart light switch that also works as an Alexa speaker, which Nest doesn’t offer either (at least, not yet). Plus, since 2014, Ecobee has sold wireless motion and temperature sensors to adjust temperatures in each room in the house. Nest this year started selling similar sensors.

“It looks like that is a core piece of how people manage a smart home of the future,” Stephen Baker, a tech business analyst for NPD, says about voice controls. “If you don’t have that piece you’re going to be left behind.”

But Baker says emphatically that voice controls alone — or even thermostats and sensors — won’t save Ecobee. The company will have to bulk up its product portfolio if it hopes to survive.

“Competing against Google — not an easy lifestyle, that’s for sure,” he adds.

Still, Ecobee’s focus has helped it so far. Its revenue doubled last year, and CNET reviewer Megan Wollerton wrote that the Ecobee4 is “the smartest thermostat we’ve ever reviewed.” Nest, meanwhile, is facing leadership struggles and restructuring that may be slowing it down.

As another innovation, Lombard tells me Ecobee is piloting an opt-in program called Peak Relief that will automatically turn up the heat or air conditioning when electricity rates are lower, and use less energy when rates are high. The program, which essentially lets you use your home as a “thermal battery,” officially launched Monday to selected Ecobee users in California, Arizona and Ontario, Canada. Using the new feature, people can save up to an additional 10 percent on their energy costs, he says.

Ecobee also has a powerful ally in its battle to win more customers. It’s one of the over 1,200 brands using Amazon’s Alexa, which dominates the market for voice assistants. Amazon has also invested an undisclosed amount in Ecobee over three rounds since 2016. But working with the e-commerce giant can be a double-edged sword: Amazon has a reputation for turning on its friends. CEO Jeff Bezos and his team invested in startup Nucleus, which created an Alexa-powered home intercom, then hobbled the company’s prospects by coming out with a competing device called the Echo Show .

Despite the challenges, Lombard emphasizes his plans to build a major, lasting and independent company that could someday rival the biggest names in tech.

“I don’t think we’re under any illusions that anyone’s going to do us any favors,” Lombard says when asked about Nucleus, adding that Ecobee thermostats work with many smart-home platforms like Apple’s HomeKit and IFTTT, not just Alexa. “We have to chart our own course.”

Google and Amazon declined to comment for this story.

Suffice it to say, it ain’t easy being a little guy.


13
Ecobee’s future of the connected home

Buzz

I’m inside Ecobee’s hardware lab with Casey McKinnon, vice president of product, and Sahaj Cheema, a product management director. The space has been designed to look like a garage — with pegboards on the walls, workbenches, a soldering station, tool shelves and a garage door entrance — to encourage experimentation.

Employees stroll in and out to tinker, solder or fix things. Toward the back, past the whirring 3D printers, a cramped closet houses a boxy temperature chamber, which operates as either a fridge or oven. There’s also a lifesize cutout of Leonardo DiCaprio that’s being used in an image-recognition experiment.

The lab is where Ecobee cooks up its next big ideas, set to arrive in the next 18 months to five years. It’s here where workers pulled together the Ecobee5 — still under development — and are already working on the Ecobee6, McKinnon says. He won’t tell me any details about what those devices will offer.

Outside the lab, I see a “museum” of Ecobee products and prototypes staged along one wall. Cheema fans out in her hands several early versions of the new light switch, which includes a front-facing speaker and sensor. It took a lot of tries to get the device to pass the “guest test,” she says. That’s when homeowners and visitors know intuitively where they need to press.

“We did pretty much hundreds of these tests to see where people were gravitating towards,” she says.

Such small steps from Ecobee and others may eventually add up to big changes for our homes.

I later meet with Sina Shahandeh, director of data science and analytics. He shows me a picture on his laptop of characters from Beauty and the Beast, including Lumière the candlestick and Cogsworth the clock.

He likens these talking, anthropomorphic objects to a potential, though far-off, future of the smart home, when the stuff surrounding us will come with cognition, decision-making and emotional awareness. Your home would know to lower the temperature when you return from the gym, for instance, or even avoid playing loud music when you’re sad.

Shahandeh, who talks in quick bursts and waves his hands when discussing such a future, admits it will be incredibly difficult to pull off some of these ideas. After all, people don’t always know what they want. “Smart home is much more complicated, because there’s no goal for it,” he says, comparing smart homes to self-driving cars. “Like, there’s no point A to B. The idea here is that you have this symbiotic relationship between the people living in a house and the house.”

To get a little closer to these ideas, Ecobee is working on devices and sensors that are more aware of their surroundings, taking in data from inside and outside homes to operate more effectively. Ecobee thermostats already use real-time weather data to adjust their temperature, but that’s just an early first step.

The challenges are considerable for Lombard to fulfill his vision of a “helpful home” — as well as ensuring a company like Ecobee will achieve it. Lombard, ever the optimist, sounds more enthusiastic than worried.

“I’m more excited about our product roadmap and where we’re going and the opportunities that lie ahead than I’ve ever been,” he says.

For Ecobee’s sake, let’s hope he’s right.

First published at 5 a.m. PT.
Updated at 12 p.m. PT: Adds more details from Ecobee’s CEO.

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