Thursday, March 5, 2015

Shortly after Google announces, Comcast admits "assessing the possibilities" of entry into mobile carrier market.

Comcast CEO Brian Roberts recently hinted that the company is looking to launch a mobile phone carrier, to compete with the likes of Verizon, AT&T, and Sprint. The service would make use of Comcast’s numerous national Wi-Fi hotspots to connect phones and tablets to the Internet.

As reported by FierceCable, the Comcast boss said during an earnings call Tuesday that the company is ”still assessing the possibilities” of becoming a carrier. Under the plan, Comcast would employ its 8.3 million Wi-Fi hotspots nationwide as a mobile virtual network operator (MVNO), but Roberts emphasized that the time is not right to “chew open what [Comcast’s] Wi-Fi plans are.”

As pointed out by FieceCable’s sister site, FierceWireless, most of today’s MVNO services, like Republic Wireless and FreedomPop, work with a major cell carrier to augment their coverage when Wi-Fi isn’t available. The majority of your calls and website visits occur over Wi-Fi (at home or at work, for example); when there’s no Wi-Fi available, you are then passed off to a cellular network. It’s unclear whether Comcast would go this route or follow its competitor Cablevision, which recently launched Freewheel, a strictly Wi-Fi-only mobile phone service available at $9.99 a month for current cable subscribers.

"We do believe in the asset, and we’re looking for ways to bring it to market over the next several months," Roberts went on.

If that’s not enough evidence to convince (or scare) you, on Wednesday Engadget came across what seems to be a related Comcast job post. According to the listing, the company is looking to hire an executive under the context that it’s “evaluating potential entries into the wireless ecosystem” that would “utilize” Comcast’s millions of Wi-Fi hotspots.

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