It looks as though Google isn’t the only big name in tech that plans to resell wireless service as a Mobile Virtual Network Operator (MVNO). According to a new report, Comcast is looking to become an MNVO with the help of none other than America’s largest wireless carrier: Verizon Wireless.
In 2011, Comcast a number of other cable companies banded together to sell spectrum licenses to Verizon for nearly $4 billion. Under the arrangement, Comcast reserved the right to resell Verizon’s cellular service in the future if it choose to do so. That time has come, and Comcast is looking to cash in.
Verizon CFO Fran Shammo seemed unfazed when presented with the evidence that Comcast was looking to invoke its reseller rights, stating, “Obviously, the industry is moving. Cable is going to do what they’re going to do, and we’re going to do what we’re going to do.”
It’s being reported by Bloomberg that a trial of Comcast’s wireless service could begin in as soon as six months, with a full-scale public rollout occurring roughly a year from now. Although we don’t have any concrete details on how the service will operate, it’s reported that Comcast will use a combination of its 10 million Wi-Fi hotspots littered across the United States along with Verizon Wireless’ cellular network.
We could envision Comcast’s wireless service working similarly to Google’s Project Fi, in which customers can place and receive calls via Wi-Fi and seamlessly “hop” to a cellular connection (through either T-Mobile or Sprint) when the Wi-Fi connection deteriorates and vice versa.
It’s likely that Comcast’s service would also compete favorably with Project Fi — which starts at $20 a month before data is added on — with a starting price tag of $25 to $30 per month “with attractive margins” according to New Street Research analyst Jonathan Chaplin.
Comcast doesn’t exactly have a sterling reputation when it comes to its service and customer service for its home Internet and cable services, so it remains to be seen how well customers will receive a wireless offering from the company.