Mr. Roberts was speaking at the Goldman Sachs Communacopia investor’s conference, revealing that the Comcast “network” will be available by mid-2017 and that a large focus will be on Wi-Fi hotspots. Comcast’s service will operate on Verizon Communication’s (VZ – Free Report) Wireless network when away from Wi-Fi connections.
According to The Wall Street Journal, Mr. Roberts “said that because Comcast has a ‘good fair relationship’ to sell on a wholesale basis, ‘we won’t have to make the kind of investment’ needed otherwise, such as cell towers and other infrastructure.”
No pricing or other product details were announced, with Mr. Roberts saying that Comcast will target its existing customer base for its new wireless service. The cable company currently has more than 14 million Xfinity Wi-Fi hotpots throughout the United States, some of which are public (think parks or coffee shops) while others are powered by privately-owned routers in customer homes.
Comcast’s latest offering is direct competition to AT&T’s (T – Free Report) mobile service, where customers who subscribe to the DirectTV satellite service receive access to an unlimited mobile data plan from AT&T that is unavailable to other customers.
This also shows Comcast’s move to other revenue streams as pay-for cable television business stagnates across the industry. But its entering a crowded market, and the four biggest players—Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile (TMUS – Free Report) , and Sprint (S – Free Report) —have over 100% market penetration in the U.S., according to the WSJ.
Comcast shares closed at $66.23 on Tuesday, up $0.38 (+0.58%). Year-to-date, CMCSA has gained 17.37%, more than tripling the return of the S&P 500 during the same period.
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