Days are numbered for Freewheel, report claims

29 Jun 2016

Cablevision Systems, the New York-based cableco recently acquired by European telecoms group Altice, has been given permission to discontinue its all-Wi-Fi calling service, Freewheel, by its new owner. According to the Wall Street Journal, Freewheel – which was introduced in January 2015 – has been deemed surplus to requirements by Altice, as it seeks to cut costs across the board.

In a notable difference to the so-called ‘Wi-Fi-first’ MVNOs which are gaining traction in the US, Freewheel had no cellular network fallback option and relied exclusively on Cablevision’s Wi-Fi network for voice connectivity. From launch, Freewheel customers had automatic access to the Optimum Wi-Fi network of 1.1 million hotspots in the New York metropolitan area; the company commenced its extensive Wi-Fi rollout in 2007.