Comcast And Charter Form Wireless Joint Venture

Violet Tucker
May 9, 2017

The agreement could help pave the way for a merger between Charter and Comcast in the future, New Street Research's Chaplin said.

The deal won't prohibit the companies from making a joint bid for a wireless carrier.

The companies have agreed to cooperate on technical standards development and harmonization; device forward and reverse logistics and emerging wireless technology platforms.

Meanwhile, the cable companies may try to strike more network-sharing deals - such as the ones between the cable companies and Verizon - with other wireless carriers, helping them improve their chances of going it alone in wireless. The companies, which both have deals to buy capacity on Verizon's network at wholesale rates, also made an unconventional pledge to work together on any transaction with a wireless company in the next year.

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In a release, Comcast and Charter said they "have agreed to work only together with respect to national mobile network operators, through potential commercial arrangements, including MVNOs and other material transactions in the wireless industry, for a period of one year". But Comcast's plan is all about maximizing WiFi and putting all of those hotspots they've put in customers' homes to some use. Tele-Communications Inc., Comcast and Cox Communications in 1994 invested in Sprint (S), then mainly a long-distance phone company. Within our footprint, our network is perfectly suited to provide the data-rich wireless services that customers are increasingly demanding. It's meant to reinforce Comcast's wireline bundle: Xfinity Mobile will be sold as a bundle with Comcast's other Xfinity services, with up to five phone lines automatically available for no extra cost when a customer adds Xfinity Mobile to their Xfinity Internet service.

Comcast is expected to launch its Xfinity Mobile wireless product within the next few weeks by reselling Verizon spectrum under the Xfinity brand.

"By working with the team at Comcast, we cannot only speed Charter's entry into the marketplace, it will also enable us to provide more competition and drive costs down for consumers at a similar national scale as current wireless operators", Tom Rutledge, chairman and CEO of Charter, said in a statement. The parties participated in a recently concluded government auction of wireless spectrum, and had been restricted by anti-collusion talks. "We think that cable companies could easily capture close to 20% of their addressable market over the course of the next five years. And we think that if we ever do have such a need that opportunities will be available and get it".

Other reports by Guamnewswatch

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