Tech Talk: Comcast, Charter Could Still Tie Up With Sprint As An MVNO

Last month, it was reported that Comcast and Charter were both in talks with Sprint, about a possible buyout. This came after many rumors that the two companies were looking into what Sprint may have to offer. Comcast and Charter are both interested in wireless, but the two may not be as interested in wireless as Dish, and therefore may not be willing to purchase Sprint - not to mention all of the debt that comes with Sprint. But even though a deal has not been made yet for a buyer of Sprint, the carrier could still make out well if it resells its network to Comcast or Charter.

This is something that both cable operators have already done with Verizon, and it could work for Sprint's network too. Comcast's XFINITY Mobile works on the Verizon network, and it's very unlikely that Sprint has any coverage where Verizon doesn't, but it could help Comcast lower the cost to consumers. Now this would help out Sprint because it brings in some more cash, something that Sprint really needs with a big chunk of its debt coming due in the next few years. Reselling wireless isn't anything new, in fact Sprint used to do it quite a bit. It's one reason why many believed that Sprint's network was so poor for so long. It had a ton of MVNOs using its network, which meant more customers paying less money.

Resale agreements are also known as MVNOs or Mobile Virtual Network Operators. Meaning that you are buying your service from somewhere like Comcast through XFINITY Mobile, but you are using Sprint or another carrier's network. While there are only four national carriers in the US, there are many other carriers around, all of which use those four networks to keep its users connected. MVNOs typically offer lower prices because they are essentially charging you what the network (depending on who they are working with) charges them, plus a bit extra for profit. What this means for customers is that they don't get the same priority as someone on Sprint's unlimited plan. Since postpaid customers get priority on towers, followed by prepaid (read: Boost Mobile and Virgin Mobile) and then MVNOs.

Now, Comcast and Charter working with Sprint is a two-way street. Sprint could also try and negotiate its way into using the fiber cable that Comcast and Charter have both laid throughout the US. And where these two are in the top three for ISP's in the US, they do have a fairly large footprint right now. Having access to that fiber would help Sprint add more capacity to its network as well as more coverage. Not to mention it would be a huge help for 5G in the next few years, seeing as 5G is using quite a bit of fiber cable, and requiring Verizon and AT&T to lay more as it is. Of course, making a deal with Comcast or Charter would be much cheaper, not to mention easier to deploy, then building out the infrastructure needed.

A complete buyout of Sprint by either of these cable operators is not actually off of the table yet. According to recent reports, Sprint is still in talks with both Comcast and Charter, so it's very possible that one might have enough interest in Sprint to buy a significant portion of the company. SoftBank does still want to be part owner, but it is looking for a way to bring in more cash to help Sprint expand and keep up with the rest of the industry. Not to mention it needs a huge influx of cash to bring in an influx of customers to compete with AT&T and Verizon, both of which are almost three times Sprint's size right now.

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Alexander Maxham

Section Editor
Alex has written for Androidheadlines since 2012 as Editor of the site and traveled the World to many of the biggest Smartphone and Technology events. Alex has a background in Technology and IT and Deep Passion for Everything Android and Google. His specialties lay in Smartphones of all budgets, Accessories, Home Automation and more. Contact him at [email protected]dlines.com