According to a press release from April 20, Comcast Corporation and Charter Communications have now joined on a project to develop and deploy backend systems for their respective mobile networks. Specifically, the partnership will see the companies working to improve efficiency and scalability through the generation of a software platform and the associated backend systems. Those will drive customer sales and support platforms, device logistics and warehousing, and billing. It will also serve as a base for any current or future mobile virtual network operator partnerships either company might form. The project doesn't currently have a specified end-date and no details have been released about how much it will cost. However, it will be overseen by a new board of directors comprised of two directors from Comcast and two from Charter. It will also be based In Philadelphia and Comcast will be providing the workforce behind the effort for both companies.
Although this is said to be a 50/50 joint collaboration, Comcast will not be supplying more than employees for an unannounced initial period. That's due to the fact that the new systems will be partially built on Comcast's current operating system. In fact, those are the same elements already used for Xfinity Mobile and which Charter has modified for its own mobile product and service launch. So Charter will be footing the bill to match the costs that Comcast has already poured into the operating platform. Once that burden has been met, funding will be provided equally. The two companies also won't be sharing in other costs associated with the individual networks. Both will be required to develop and maintain its own relationships with handset OEMs and all customer-facing activities will be handled in a similar fashion. The partnership does not extend beyond building the systems that form the background of those services.
The goal of the partnership is to continue the shared responsibilities for maintaining the underlying systems in order to better compete with well-established carriers. By joining on the backend, the companies can share the cost of development, improving the networking infrastructure on the consumer side more quickly. It's effectively a cost-effective new push by both companies to break into the mobile connectivity market. For Charter, in particular, this could strengthen its stance with regard to investments and subsequent buy-out offers from other companies.