Will A Cable Company Be Your Next Wireless Phone Provider.


Staff member
The Verizon Wireless/cable TV romance could blossom beyond whisking video to smartphones and other mobile devices into a deeper relationship in which the nation's biggest cable firms offer wireless services.

One scenario is that Comcast, Time Warner Cable and other cable firms will expand their Verizon relationship to include network access.

The cable firms could buy access to Verizon's 4G network on a wholesale basis, under what's called a MVNO (mobile virtual network operator) deal, and sell phone services under their own brand.

Cable TV firms were supposed to wait until at least 2015 to become a MVNO under the original Verizon joint venture, announced in late 2011. The DOJ made changes so that the cable firms could ask Verizon for a MVNO deal starting late last year, though none have.

"The opportunity is ripe for cable operators to put together a product that primarily rides their own extensive Wi-Fi assets and uses an MVNO relationship as a fallback," Jefferies analyst Thomas Seitz said in a research report.

Seitz speculates cable TV firms could offer a hybrid service. To make calls, users' first option would be connecting to a Wi-Fi network. If Wi-Fi isn't available, then mobile phone users would automatically access a cellphone network, presumably Verizon's network.

Startup Republic Wireless, which rents access to Sprint's network, already offers such a hybrid cellphone/Wi-Fi service.

To supplement the high-speed broadband Internet services going to homes and businesses, cable TV firms have also been building out Wi-Fi networks in public locations. Cable TV firms give customers free access to public Wi-Fi hot spots.

In June, the Cable WiFi Alliance said it has amassed 150,000 Wi-Fi locations in the U.S. The alliance includes the Verizon joint venture partners as well as Cablevision Systems (CVC).

"We believe the inexorable current below the surface is that cable will enter the wireless market in a disruptive, Wi-Fi/MVNO manner in the foreseeable future," Seitz wrote.

He says Cablevision, which has the most Wi-Fi hot spots among cable TV firms, is best positioned to sell a hybrid phone service such as Republic's.
Read More At Investor's Business Daily: Verizon, Cable Guys Ramp TV-To-Smartphones, MVNO Deal On Deck? - Investors.com
Follow us: @IBDinvestors on Twitter | InvestorsBusinessDaily on Facebook

This is something that cable companies almost have to do. Their legacy video service is less appealing, so they need new products. Also, the Spectrumco deal with Verizon gives them access to an established national network, while they can leverage their WiFi hotspots to give better coverage and speeds. It will also lead to their being able to offer a quadruple play. ;)

Similar threads