If you really want more Comcast in your life, and you’re tired of all the options you already have for mobile phone service, well, Comcast’s CEO has some good news for you. Coming soon, the cable company America most loves to hate is cutting its own cord, and going wireless.
Speaking at an investor conference this morning, Comcast CEO Brian Roberts confirmed that Comcast is, indeed, planning to launch a mobile service — and soon.
The service will launch by the middle of 2017, as the Wall Street Journal reports, and will be targeted to existing or potential customers that already live in markets Comcast serves.
The idea of Comcast becoming a mobile carrier has been floating around in a kind of on-again-off-again way for years, but picked up steam this past July when two new pieces of news hit at the same time.
The first was that Comcast planned to participate in the spectrum auction currently underway at the FCC. You need wireless spectrum available to you in order to launch wireless services, and any company spending the money to get more spectrum under their control certainly has a reason.
The other? Perhaps a little more obvious: Comcast literally launched a new division called Comcast Mobile, and put a seasoned internet and wireless executive in charge of it.
Comcast already has a deal in place with Verizon that allows them to piggyback service on Verizon’s wireless infrastructure. That deal would allow Comcast to become an MVNO, mobile virtual network operator, in the same way that other regional or small-scale cell companies use Verizon’s, T-Mobile’s, or AT&T’s networks.
The new service will use Verizon’s network in part, Roberts said, as well as relying heavily on Comcast’s existing web of 15 million WiFi hotspots, many of which operate out of customers’ homes. If that sounds a little bit like what Google and Cablevision have tried in the past, that’s because it is.
“We believe there will be a big payback with reduced churn, more stickiness and better satisfaction,” Roberts said, which translated out of High Finance Jargon and back into everyday English means that Comcast expects to make a lot of money out of it because they won’t have customers regularly dropping out.
Comcast to Launch Wireless Service by Mid-2017
[Wall Street Journal]