What happened

Shares of Altice (NYSE:ATUS) have plunged today, down by 20% as of 11:50 a.m. EST, after the company reported third-quarter earnings. The cable operator missed on both top and bottom lines and cut its guidance for the year.

So what

Revneue in the third quarter came in at $2.44 billion, shy of the $2.48 billion that analysts were expecting. That translated into net income of $77 million, or $0.12 per share, while the consensus estimate had called for $0.15 per share in profits. Altice lost 32,000 video customers during the quarter as cord-cutting continues to hurt traditional cable operators.

Red stock chart going down

Image source: Getty Images.

"We're pleased that our customer-focused initiatives are already contributing to strong underlying customer trends, reflecting the benefits of our increased investments in our networks, products and the customer experience," CEO Dexter Goei said in a statement. "As we now turn our focus to scaling our efforts, we look forward to accelerating our revenue and Adjusted EBITDA growth in 2020 as we begin to realize the benefits of our investments."

Now what

Altice also reduced its full-year outlook and now expects revenue growth in 2019 to be approximately 2.5%, down from the previous forecast of 3% to 3.5%. (The company had increased its 2019 guidance in July.) Altice launched a mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) in September, buying wholesale capacity from national carriers AT&T and Sprint and reselling the service under its own brand.

Altice Mobile has not yet started selling smartphones online, and the company anticipates that online handset sales will "be a key driver of Altice USA's anticipated accelerated growth in 2020."

This article represents the opinion of the writer, who may disagree with the “official” recommendation position of a Motley Fool premium advisory service. We’re motley! Questioning an investing thesis -- even one of our own -- helps us all think critically about investing and make decisions that help us become smarter, happier, and richer.