Cable companies Comcast and Charter have taken another step towards providing mobile broadband service and competing with the major U.S. wireless carriers.
The companies announced they’ve formed a partnership to develop and design backend systems for Comcast’s Xfinity Mobile and Charter’s Spectrum Mobile service. Comcast launched Xfinity Mobile in 2017, and says it had 380,000 subscribers by the end of 2017. Spectrum Mobile has not yet been introduced, but the company says the service, patterned after Xfinity Mobile, will launch soon.
Comcast and Charter have Mobile Virtual Network Operator (MVNO) deals with Verizon stemming from the sale of AWS spectrum licenses to the carrier by a group of cable companies in 2011. Using Verizon spectrum, primary coverage is provided through WiFi access for voice and data; when unavailable, Xfinity and Spectrum mobile customers rely on Verizon coverage.
Through the new agreement, Charter and Comcast say they’ll cost-effectively develop an efficient and scalable software platform, and related backend systems, to support each company’s mobile-related customer sales, device logistics and warehousing, and billing.
Charter will initially fund the joint venture to reflect certain development costs that Comcast has already made in mobile-related platforms and technology. Thereafter, the partners will fund the partnership operations 50/50. Each company continues to maintain their own relationships with device manufacturers and their own customer-facing activities.
A four-person board governs the partnership, with two directors representing Comcast and two representing Charter. The partnership is based in Philadelphia and uses Comcast employees to support platform development on behalf of both companies.
April 24, 2018