Comcast 1st Cable Company to Offer Cell Phone Service
Comcast Corp. has become the first U.S. cable operator to take on telecommunications providers in the cell phone market, having begun marketing the service to consumers in Boston. Comcast phone launched the service in Boston and Portland, Oregon, earlier this month after a year-long trial, but is only promoting its "mobile access" service with television commercials and direct-mail drops in the Boston metropolitan area.
Time Warner Inc.'s cable unit, the No. 2 U.S. cable operator, said it has made wireless services available to customers who request it in Raleigh, North Carolina, and Austin, Texas, and would start marketing in the cities in the first quarter of 2007 and to all of its other markets through the year.
Cox Communications, the No.3 U.S. cable operator, also expects to introduce wireless services early in 2007. The three cable companies plan to use the wireless network of No. 3 U.S. mobile operator Sprint Nextel Corp. as part of an agreement reached last year.
Cable operators have reported record subscriber growth because of triple-play packages. They are betting that adding wireless could give them additional clout against telephone companies such as AT&T Inc. and Verizon Communications Inc. that are starting to launch TV services.