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Deal with Verizon Wireless could have many implications

Fri, 12/02/2011 - 1:46pm
Mike Robuck

The $3.6 billion sale of AWS spectrum by Comcast, Time Warner Cable and Bright House Networks to Verizon is mind-boggling on many levels, so here are a few additional thoughts.

The cable operators involved aren’t going to back off of their large-scale Wi-Fi build-outs, but sharing national Wi-Fi hotspots across Bright House’s, Time Warner Cable’s, Comcast’s and Verizon’s hotspots is a pretty compelling service for subscribers if it happens.

“It is difficult to predict what will be their strategy in the future, but Verizon currently leverages Boingo’s Wi-Fi network; leveraging the Wi-Fi network of cable companies in the future will give them another strong option and can be a mutual win-win for both Verizon and the cable companies,” wrote Hillol Roy, associate fellow at IBB Consulting Group, in an e-mail to CED.

In-Stat’s Gerry Kaufhold, research director for digital entertainment, pointed out that the deal could lead to faster-to-market deployments of TV Everywhere-type services through Verizon’s mobile network to consumer end-point devices. It might also lead to more cellular backhaul opportunities for Comcast, Time Warner Cable and Bright House Networks.

“Combined with the aggressive deployments of Wi-Fi access points by the cable companies, a ‘white label’ mobile service might do two things: One, it keeps Comcast customers seeing Comcast logos on all their use of Comcast content, on any device, anywhere; and two, the Wi-Fi build-out, and the fact that the cable companies are providing 100 Gigabit Ethernet backhaul for the LTE 4G base stations, helps the cable companies offload traffic, or reduce traffic, on Verizon’s cellular network,” Kaufhold wrote in an e-mail to CED. “So this could be a win-win situation, where the cable companies get a more efficient pathway to offer mobile services, and Verizon picks up much-needed RF spectrum to compete with AT&T.

“And consumers will have a more simplified way to enjoy TV Everywhere content services from their cable company using mobile devices from Verizon. Plus, Verizon may pick up some new subscribers because people with AT&T cell phone plans won’t have the same access to TV Everywhere content as the Verizon service is offering.”

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