Is Comcast Planning To Offer Wireless Services?
Apparently so. As confirmed by Brian Roberts, the chief executive officer of Comcast, during a quarterly earnings conference just recently, one of the big names in cable television is indeed planning to launch a wireless service born of its agreement with Verizon Wireless back about four years ago.
Roberts did not go as far as revealing any more details about Comcast’s upcoming wireless service, but he did share that wireless has always been an area of interest for the cable TV giant. He further teased that the company may create a specific feature in which the cellular service of Verizon Wireless will be merged with Comcast’s existing network consisting of millions of free or inexpensive Wi-Fi hotspots.
If Comcast indeed pushes on with its wireless service, it has the potential of shaking up the industry. The amalgamation of Comcast’s already formidable hotspot network, along with Verizon’s equally expansive network, could result to wireless services that are not just all encompassing in terms of coverage, but more importantly for mobile users, cost effective in the long run. Those who are familiar with Google’s Project Fi will notice some similarities with Comcast’s proposed wireless service. Project Fi, after all, makes full use of a combination of Wi-Fi and current cellular networks by T-Mobile and Sprint, offering mobile users with a mixture of voice and data inclusions.
The signs may already have been there. A week ago, a top executive from Verizon Wireless had stated that one of the cable companies participating in the 2011 spectrum deal (which let cable companies resell Verizon wireless services) had elected to exercise this part of the contract. The Big Red expended $3.6 million just to purchase wireless spectrum from a group of cable companies that included Comcast, Time Warner Cable, and Bright House Networks. There is also talk that Comcast may join in next year’s broadcast spectrum auction, which would make sense if the company is to launch its wireless service soon.
But the official word from Comcast is that it does not seem to be in a hurry. Roberts has hinted that the company will not start testing its new service for several months. But the fact remains that Comcast has already taken the first step towards that goal by exercising its contract option. And even if the cable TV giant is taking a slowly but surely approach, mobile users everywhere will now be tuning in to its every move.