The wireless phone provider market in the US may about to get even more complicated. Comcast and Charter Communications, the nation’s first and second largest cable TV operations, have announced a joint agreement that will see these two rivals team up to launch new wireless phone ventures.
This news comes just a few weeks after Comcast announced plans to launch its own Xfinity Mobile wireless service later this summer in the regions of the US where it already offers cable, internet and landline phone service. It will use Verizon Wireless for its cellular network, with the rest of the connections to be handled by Comcast’s own Wi-Fi hotspots.
Under this new agreement, Comcast and Charter will still offer wireless services separately to their customers. Indeed, Charter is scheduled to launch its own MVNO wireless phone service, which will also use Verizon’s network, sometime in 2018. However, both companies will now work together to, according to their press release, develop “common operating platforms; technical standards development and harmonization; device forward and reverse logistics; and emerging wireless technology platforms.” The deal could help both companies speed up their entry into the wireless phone business, as well as help them cut the overall costs of such a move.
This partnership could allow both companies to team up for an move to acquire T-Mobile or Sprint
One interesting wrinkle in this agreement is that both Comcast and Charter have agreed not to make any major wireless acquisitions or merger deals without the other’s consent for one year. Some analysts are already speculating that this partnership could allow both companies to team up for an move to acquire T-Mobile or Sprint. That would allow Comcast and Charter to better compete with Verizon and AT&T, both of which already offer national wireless service in addition to TV, internet and landline phone businesses.
In any event, it’s clear that Comcast and Charter don’t want their big TV and internet rivals AT&T and Verizon to also claim a big piece of the wireless pie. We should learn a lot more about how all of this will work out in the next 12 months. In the meantime, do you think this move by Comcast and Charter will be just the start of a new wireless war? Let us know what you think in the comments!