Comcast will launch fixed/mobile bundles by mid-year

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Comcast is talking up its plans to launch quad play services this year, with CEO Brian Rob-erts pledging to deploy wireless and bundled offerings by the middle of this year.

The company will harness its 15m WiFi hotspots and homespots, and its cellular MVNO deal with Verizon, to add wireless to its fiber and TV services. On the firm’s fourth quarter earnings call, Roberts said: “We plan to include wireless in our multiproduct bundles in a way that is designed to add value to our customers, improve retention and ultimately ben-efit lifetime consumer economics.”

He added: “I believe that we’ll find out—and we’re hoping—it’s an end-state strategy and that it’s sustainable, and the goal of the business is to have better bundling with some of our customer who want to save some of their bill, get a world-class product and take a bundle, and have lower churn.”

Comcast said it will sell devices, including top end smartphones, directly to customers, as MNOs do, though it is expected to confine its wireless activities to its cable subscriber base rather than competing in wireless-only.

That may change at the 5G stage, however. Comcast may emerge from the ongoing 600 MHz auction with its own spectrum (having sold most of its former assets to Verizon), and it would also have the chance to leverage unlicensed or shared spectrum to deploy next generation wireless technologies at low cost, with its huge fiber footprint for backhaul and fronthaul, and its national WiFi network to improve the capacity and economics further.

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Caroline has been analyzing and reporting in the hi-tech industries since 1986 and has a huge wealth of experience of technology trends and how they impact on business models. She started her career as a journalist, specializing in enterprise and carrier networks and in silicon technologies. She spent much of her journalistic career at VNU Business Publishing, then Europe’s largest producer of technology publications and information services . She was publishing director for the launch of VNU’s pan-European online content services, and then European editorial director. She then made the move from publishing into technology market analysis and consulting, and in 2002 co-founded Rethink Technology Research with Peter White. Rethink specializes in trends and business models for wireless, converged and quad play operators round the world and the technologies that support them. Caroline’s role is to head up the wireless side of the business, leading the creation of research, newsletters and consulting services focused on mobile platforms and operator models. In this role, she has become a highly recognized authority on 4G systems such as LTE and WiMAX, and a prolific speaker at industry events. Consulting and research clients come from major mobile operators, the wireless supply chain and financial institutions.

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