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Is Comcast Going to Be Your Next Cellphone Provider?
Cashing in on an old deal Back in 2012, Comcast and other cable providers struck a deal with Verizon Communications, which allowed the cable providers to resell some of Verizon’s wireless spectrum. Until now, none of the cable providers have used the spectrum, but sources have told Bloomberg that Comcast is ready to use the airwaves. Source: Bloomberg.
Wi-Fi first Comcast will use the spectrum to become a mobile virtual network operator (MVNO), which would first tap into Wi-Fi networks for voice, text and data functions and use cellular signals only when Wi-Fi isn’t available. Comcast is expected to start trials of the service soon, with a possible launch in late 2016.
Why Comcast? While other cable providers may eventually pursue the same cellphone service opportunity, Comcast is in a unique position to do so now. The cable provider has hundreds of thousands of its own Wi-Fi hotspots and has a partnership with other cable companies to allow its users to tap into additional Wi-Fi hotspots.
The unknowns While it’s likely Comcast will move forward with its cellphone service plan, we still don’t know what the company will charge for the service or which devices the service will work with.
The downside for wireless carriers Any additional competition in the U.S. wireless space could pull customers away from traditional carriers. MVNO offerings are typically less expensive than traditional wireless plans, and current subscribers looking for a good deal could be swayed by Comcast’s potentially lower-priced offering.
The payoff According to analysts at New Street Research, Wi-Fi first cellphone services from cable companies have the opportunity to snag 9% of the U.S. retail wireless subscriber market by 2019, and increase cable providers’ revenue by 10% to 12%. http://www.fiercewireless.com/story/analyst-comcast-triggers-mvno-deal-will-launch-wi-fi-first-service-2016/2015-10-21 Source: FierceWireless.
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