SHARE



ABOUT THE AUTHOR


Michael Finneran
Michael F. Finneran, is President of dBrn Associates, Inc., a full service advisory firm specializing in wireless and mobility; services...
Read Full Bio >>
SHARE



Michael Finneran | May 09, 2017 |

 
   

Comcast, Charter Partner to Take on Cellular Carriers

Comcast, Charter Partner to Take on Cellular Carriers Why are they entering this knife fight?

Why are they entering this knife fight?

Cable companies Comcast and Charter Communications earlier this week announced they have entered into a partnership to jointly offer wireless communications services; the two are not effectively competitors as their service territories do not overlap. Further, each has agreed not to make a material merger or acquisition in wireless without the other's consent for one year. The big question is: Why would they want to jump in to what is already the fiercely competitive knife fight that is the wireless business?

The mobile operators are currently locked in a price war that seems to be hitting the big players, Verizon and AT&T, the hardest. However, the cable companies have long been envious of the wireless business and the appeal of upping the triple play (TV, Internet, and phone) to a quadruple play. And going forward, the cable companies are concerned that "cord cutters" could reduce their triple plays to double plays.

Of course, Comcast is already in the wireless business by way of a mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) agreement with Verizon. Also, Comcast did drop $1.7 billion on 600-MHz spectrum in the recent FCC auction, and back in 2008, it was part of a consortium with Time Warner Cable and Bright House Networks that jointly invested $2.37 billion in the 700-MHz auction. In 2011, those companies sold the 700-MHz spectrum to Verizon for $3.6 billion in return for the rights to resell Verizon's network under their own brands. Comcast plans to begin offering service as soon as this month.

Of course, you're not building much of a wireless network with a mere $1.7 billion worth of spectrum. However, Comcast has some 15 million Wi-Fi hot spots, and according to New Street Research cited by The Wall Street Journal, when those are combined with Charter's Wi-Fi holdings, it could cover about 80% of the country. Comcast is also part of the Cable WiFi Alliance along with Cablevision, Time Warner Cable, Bright House Networks, and Cox Communications; Charter acquired Time Warner Cable and Bright House Networks in 2016, potentially giving Comcast and Charter access to even more hot spots nationwide.

However, as I noted in this No Jitter post last September, dealing with Comcast's entry into the wireless business, despite a spate of WiFi-first or WiFi-only mobile offerings from Google, Republic Wireless, Scratch Wireless, and Cablevision, customers have not been swayed by the idea. Further, the traditional mobile operators are making use of Wi-Fi offloading to reduce network congestion.

As WSJ reporter Miriam Gottfried wrote, she is thinking that this might be the lead up to some merger or acquisition play. The Obama administration turned down Comcast's request to acquire Time Warner before Charter snatched it up, but maybe the Trump administration might look more favorably on a Comcast-Charter hook up and this partnership is a way of testing the waters. With the defeat of AT&T's bid to acquire T-Mobile back in 2011 and Sprint's more recent failed attempt at buying the company, mergers among wireless carriers look all but impossible. However, maybe Comcast or a combined Comcast-Charter, given the acquisition stipulation I mentioned above, would take a crack at T-Mobile. I doubt Masayoshi Son, CEO of Sprint’s parent SoftBank, is letting them go so soon.

While this flurry of activity in the once stable and predictable mobile business might make your head spin, it's just one more piece of evidence that the wireless business is continuing to evolve before our eyes. Certainly, the addition of yet another competitor into the mix will put further downward pressure on prices, but in the end, there has got to be a bottom in here somewhere. In the meantime, Accenture has predicted that the U.S. wireless carriers will have to invest $275 billion over seven years for their 5G rollouts.

In any event, consumers should be happy to watch their wireless bills continue to drop while all of this ruckus works its way out.

Follow Michael Finneran on Twitter and Google+!
@dBrnWireless
Michael Finneran on Google+





COMMENTS



Enterprise Connect Orlando 2018
March 12-15 | Orlando, FL

Connect with the Entire Enterprise Communications & Collaboration Ecosystem


Stay Up-to-Date: Hear industry visionaries in Keynotes and General Sessions delivering the latest insight on UC, mobility, collaboration and cloud

Grow Your Network: Connect with the largest gathering of enterprise IT and business leaders and influencers

Learn From Industry Leaders: Attend a full range of Conference Sessions, Free Programs and Special Events

Evaluate All Your Options: Engage with 190+ of the leading equipment, software and service providers

Have Fun! Mingle with sponsors, exhibitors, attendees, guest speakers and industry players during evening receptions

Register now with code NOJITTEREB to save $200 Off Advance Rates or get a FREE Expo Pass!

November 29, 2017

As video conferencing use rises in the enterprise, businesses are looking for ways to bring this technology out of traditional conference room and make it more broadly accessible. That's made the h

November 1, 2017

Your customers (internal and external) demand that you offer them the ability to connect by any means. With the adoption of cloud communications tools you now have access to an expanded portfolio o

October 18, 2017

Microsofts recent Ignite event had some critically important announcements for enterprise communications. Namely, Microsofts new Team Collaboration offering, Teams, will be its primary communicatio

October 23, 2017
Wondering which Office 365 collaboration tool to use when? Get quick pointers from CBT Nuggets instructor Simona Millham.
September 22, 2017
In this podcast, we explore the future of work with Robert Brown, AVP of the Cognizant Center for the Future of Work, who helps us answer the question, "What do we do when machines do everything?"
September 8, 2017
Greg Collins, a technology analyst and strategist with Exact Ventures, delivers a status report on 5G implementation plans and tells enterprises why they shouldn't wait to move ahead on potential use ....
August 25, 2017
Find out what business considerations are driving the SIP trunking market today, and learn a bit about how satisfied enterprises are with their providers. We talk with John Malone, president of The Ea....
August 16, 2017
World Vision U.S. is finding lots of goodness in RingCentral's cloud communications service, but as Randy Boyd, infrastructure architect at the global humanitarian nonprofit, tells us, he and his team....
August 11, 2017
Alicia Gee, director of unified communications at Sutter Physician Services, oversees the technical team supporting a 1,000-agent contact center running on Genesys PureConnect. She catches us up on th....
August 4, 2017
Andrew Prokop, communications evangelist with Arrow Systems Integration, has lately been working on integrating enterprise communications into Internet of Things ecosystems. He shares examples and off....
July 27, 2017
Industry watcher Elka Popova, a Frost & Sullivan program director, shares her perspective on this acquisition, discussing Mitel's market positioning, why the move makes sense, and more.
July 14, 2017
Lantre Barr, founder and CEO of Blacc Spot Media, urges any enterprise that's been on the fence about integrating real-time communications into business workflows to jump off and get started. Tune and....
June 28, 2017
Communications expert Tsahi Levent-Levi, author of the popular BlogGeek.me blog, keeps a running tally and comprehensive overview of communications platform-as-a-service offerings in his "Choosing a W....
June 9, 2017
If you think telecom expense management applies to nothing more than business phone lines, think again. Hyoun Park, founder and principal investigator with technology advisory Amalgam Insights, tells ....
June 2, 2017
Enterprises strategizing on mobility today, including for internal collaboration, don't have the luxury of learning as they go. Tony Rizzo, enterprise mobility specialist with Blue Hill Research, expl....
May 24, 2017
Mark Winther, head of IDC's global telecom consulting practice, gives us his take on how CPaaS providers evolve beyond the basic building blocks and address maturing enterprise needs.
May 18, 2017
Diane Myers, senior research director at IHS Markit, walks us through her 2017 UC-as-a-service report... and shares what might be to come in 2018.
April 28, 2017
Change isn't easy, but it is necessary. Tune in for advice and perspective from Zeus Kerravala, co-author of a "Digital Transformation for Dummies" special edition.
April 20, 2017
Robin Gareiss, president of Nemertes Research, shares insight gleaned from the firm's 12th annual UCC Total Cost of Operations study.
March 23, 2017
Tim Banting, of Current Analysis, gives us a peek into what the next three years will bring in advance of his Enterprise Connect session exploring the question: Will there be a new model for enterpris....
March 15, 2017
Andrew Prokop, communications evangelist with Arrow Systems Integration, discusses the evolving role of the all-important session border controller.
March 9, 2017
Organizer Alan Quayle gives us the lowdown on programmable communications and all you need to know about participating in this pre-Enterprise Connect hackathon.
March 3, 2017
From protecting against new vulnerabilities to keeping security assessments up to date, security consultant Mark Collier shares tips on how best to protect your UC systems.
February 24, 2017
UC analyst Blair Pleasant sorts through the myriad cloud architectural models underlying UCaaS and CCaaS offerings, and explains why knowing the differences matter.
February 17, 2017
From the most basics of basics to the hidden gotchas, UC consultant Melissa Swartz helps demystify the complex world of SIP trunking.
February 7, 2017
UC&C consultant Kevin Kieller, a partner at enableUC, shares pointers for making the right architectural choices for your Skype for Business deployment.
February 1, 2017
Elka Popova, a Frost & Sullivan program director, shares a status report on the UCaaS market today and offers her perspective on what large enterprises need before committing to UC in the cloud.
January 26, 2017
Andrew Davis, co-founder of Wainhouse Research and chair of the Video track at Enterprise Connect 2017, sorts through the myriad cloud video service options and shares how to tell if your choice is en....
January 23, 2017
Sheila McGee-Smith, Contact Center/Customer Experience track chair for Enterprise Connect 2017, tells us what we need to know about the role cloud software is playing in contact centers today.