Comcast is planning to offer wireless service soon. In an earnings call on Thursday, CEO Brian Roberts confirmed that Comcast will soon be offering cell phone service as a mobile virtual network operator (NVMO) using Verizon’s network. An NVMO sells cellular service under their own brand, but the actual wireless service and infrastructure is provided by larger companies like Verizon, AT&T, Sprint, and T-Mobile.
Roberts said that their main target was existing Comcast subscribers, with the service being bundled with home internet, landline phone service, and cable TV. Speaking on the matter he said, “The goal of the business is to have better bundling with some of our customers who want to save some of their bill and get a world-class product and take a bundle and have lower churn. And if you can achieve that we will see. The economics really work and that’s the goal. There’s only one way to find out and it’s to get started.”
This deal stems from a 2012 agreement in which Verizon purchased wireless spectrum space from many companies, including Comcast. As part of the agreement, Comcast and the other companies would have the ability to sell Verizon service as an NVMO. Comcast’s Senior Executive Vice President and CFO Mike Cavanagh said that they intend to sell phones and not just service. “Our approach will be to purchase the phones and collect handset-related payments from our wireless customers over time,” Cavanagh stated.
Comcast aims to launch their wireless service “in the middle of the year.” They did not release any details on pricing, bundling, or any data, phone, or SMS usage limitations.
It’ll be interesting to see how Comcast prices this service. Most NVMO’s are small, budget carriers such as Cricket and Boost Mobile. Even Google Fi does not have the recognition or hardware support Comcast’s service will have. The bundling may entice more people than Cricket or Boost Mobile ever could.