Comcast Experimenting With Mobile Network Ideas

Comcast's Chief Executive Officer, Brian Roberts, has explained today how Comcast is experimenting with the concept of a mobile network. Brian explained at a Business Insider's IGNITION conference in New York today: "We're looking for enhanced features, we're looking for value add, we're looking for a reason that makes sense." Comcast has experimented with a wireless 'phone service in the past but Brian reported that this "hasn't been a huge success." The company already has an established relationship with several large carriers and several years ago, secured a deal to use part of Verizon Wireless' network. In October, Comcast explained that it was planning on testing a number of business ideas but did not provide any concrete details.

Industry experts believe Comcast may offer a wireless 'phone service built on Wi-Fi calling technology with backup cellular coverage provided by the Verizon Wireless network. We have seen other carriers rolling out an inexpensive, similar service to customers using comparable technology, such as the United Kingdom's BT mobile network, which relies on the UK carrier EE when there is no Wi-Fi coverage. BT has a large number of hotspots available across the country. Subsequently, British Telecom (BT) are in the process of acquiring EE. However, whilst Comcast might be in a position to sell on a wireless service to existing cable and broadband customers, Brian was cagey when asked if this was the plan. He explained that the business would have more to talk about next year regarding the subject. From a carrier perspective, we have seen Verizon Wireless pushing ahead with their Advanced Calling 2.0 upgrade, which includes Wi-Fi calling technology. Perhaps Comcast are unable to deliver the hybrid Wi-Fi / cellular network until Verizon have the technology in place?

It is also going to be interesting to see what Comcast's enhanced features and value added propositions add up to and how compatible these will be with their existing infrastructure. Whilst many people simply want their chosen carrier to provide them with a high performance, reliable and inexpensive cellular service, other customers are looking for additional features and benefits from their selected carrier. For Comcast, selling mobile service could provide their business with additional revenue as the cable television business faces increasing pressure from Internet-broadcasting systems.

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David Steele

Senior Staff Writer
I grew up with 8-bit computers and moved into PDAs in my professional life, using a number of devices from early Windows CE clamshells and later. Today, my main devices are a Nexus 5X, a Sony Xperia Z Tablet and a coffee cup.
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