ChannelVision Magazine

Mobile & Wireless In a move that’s expected to ex- pand both cable MSOs’ continued move into the mobile broadband ecosystem, Comcast and Charter an- nounced a joint venture focusing on developing and operating backend systems that support both Xfinity Mo- bile and Spectrum Mobile. Each com- pany will continue to operate their own mobile brands and their own customer- facing sales and marketing operations. This partnership, meanwhile, will focus on the backend and develop customer sales and support platforms, device logistics and warehousing, and billing, the companies announced. Comcast launched Xfinity Mobile in 2017 and counted 380,000 subscribers by the end of 2017. Spectrum Mobile has not yet been launched, but Charter chief mobile officer Danny Bowman said the service, which is patterned after Xfinity Mobile, will launch in the coming months. The operating “50/50” partnership will leverage much of what Comcast has already developed for Xfinity Mo- bile. Charter reportedly will fund the joint venture as its contribution, said the companies. “We have built a best-in-class mo- bile platform for Xfinity Mobile that is resonating with customers,” said Sam Schwartz, chief business development officer for Comcast. “By collaborating with Charter, we will help drive opera- tional and cost efficiencies for both companies.” Both companies leverage access to Verizon spectrum, operating in a hybrid-MVNO model. Primary cover- age is provided through Wi-Fi access, for both voice and data. When qual- ity Wi-Fi is unavailable, Xfinity and Spectrum mobile customers revert to Verizon coverage. The partnership will be governed by a four-person board, with each company gaining two board seats. The new business unit will be based in Philadelphia, Pa., utilizing primarily Comcast employees. Comcast, Charter Form Mobile Operating Unit OVERHEARD “The biggest challenge for the future of wireless communications is not data speeds but scalability, in every sense,” said Ashutosh Sabharwal, professor of electrical and computer engineering at Rice University. “There will be order-of-magnitude increases in network nodes, number of users and types of applications. And these networks will have to be everything to everybody. They’ll be the backbone connection not just for our smartphones, but for self-driving cars; the lights, water mains and buildings of smart cities; and every imaginable sensor and gadget.” July - August, 2018 | Channel Vision 29