Comcast Builds on Verizon Airwaves, May Divert Data Traffic from Towers


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Philadelphia-based Comcast has announced that by the middle of 2017, it will be in business as a cell service provider. Comcast CEO Brian Roberts spoke at a Goldman Sachs’ investor conference on Tuesday, September 20, and made the announcement that Comcast “will take advantage of airwaves leased from Verizon for its new service.”

Verizon’s airwaves come into play as a network solution—it will sell or “rent” part of its wireless service to Comcast at a set price, part of a deal, the Wall Street Journal said, that took place in 2011. Roberts said that Comcast won’t have to make a tower or infrastructure investment since it will be “renting” services from Verizon. Additionally, Roberts said in his speech that current Comcast customers will be the focus, and the wireless service will be sold as part of a bundled package.

A Wall Street Journal article noted that this could be a “turning point for the industry,” as the broadcast giant “could direct data traffic towards its WiFi hot spots, instead of cell phone towers.”

According to a Washington Post article “when there’s no Comcast WiFi to be found, devices on Comcast Wireless will seamlessly jump onto Verizon’s cellular network to stay connected. Comcast will not be the first to try this hybrid cellular-WiFi network, but it will probably be among the largest. And combined with Comcast’s existing advantages in size and scope, Comcast Wireless could be priced to compete in an already cutthroat industry.”

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