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Comcast reveals a little more info on its upcoming wireless phone service

Comcast revealed a little more information on its previously announced plans to launch its own wireless phone service, beginning in mid-2017.
By
January 26, 2017

In September 2016, Comcast CEO Brian Roberts confirmed rumors that the cable TV and Internet company planned to launch its own wireless phone service, sometime in mid-2017.  This week, a little more information on those plans were revealed as part of the company’s quarterly financial results.

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Last fall, Roberts said the network would use a combination of Comcast WiFi hotspots and Verizon Wireless‘ LTE network. This week, Roberts said the launch of its phone network would be staggered, with plans to only offer it in a limited number of markets in the US before expanding across the country sometime later.

Comcast CFO Mike Cavanagh also confirmed that Comcast will sell phones the same way that other wireless carriers do. Buyers will be able to get high-end phones and pay for them every month over time. Finally, the company will be looking for a way to bundle phone purchases with other Comcast services, such as cable TV and Internet. Bundle deals should offer savings compared to purchasing each service on their own.

Comcast also seems to be interested in partnering with Verizon on their upcoming 5G network plans. However, there may be a barrier with Comcast’s WiFi hotspots. During the investor Q&A as part of the company’s financial results, one of them asked if Comcast’s cable network can even handle 5G speeds, or if the company will have to upgrade its network to fiber to support it. Comcast execs didn’t have a firm answer to that question, stating, “We’re doing some testing right now … it’s going to need space, power, and backhaul.”

It’s too early to tell how Comcast will handle running a wireless phone network, but if they can offer high-end phones and bundle them with services that Comcast customers already use, like TV and cable, it could be a successful venture.