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Comcast in trial with Asian carriers for Wi-Fi access

Mon, 05/12/2014 - 12:50pm
Mike Robuck

When it comes to monetizing Wi-Fi services, Comcast may have forged an in-road with a trial that it’s conducting with two Asian cellular operators.

On Sunday, Reuters reported that Comcast was in a trial with Japan's KDDI and Taiwan Mobile that allows their subscribers to access Comcast’s Wi-Fi hotspots when they’re in the United States, which was confirmed by Comcast.

The trial allows the subscribers from the Asian carriers to save money on their wireless data plans by using Comcast’s Wi-Fi access points instead of paying international roaming fees for their data usage.

According to the Reuters story, a promotion on Taiwan Mobile’s website said that customers normally paid 13 cents per minute to use Comcast ‘s Wi-Fi, but a promotion lasting until the end of June cut that price to 7 cents a minute.

The small trial with the Asian carriers is less than a year-old and Comcast has reportedly been contacted by other foreign companies in regards to Wi-Fi access on its network. Comcast is currently evaluating the use case of allowing other carriers on its Wi-Fi access points.

Last month Comcast announced it planned fire up 8 million hotspots by the end of this year. Those 8 million hot spots, which will emanate from businesses, outdoor locations and neighborhood hotspots with second SSIDs in customers’ gateways, are slated for 19 of the country’s 30 largest cities. In early April, Comcast announced it had surpassed 1 million Xfinity WiFi hotspots.  

According to a recent survey by Infonetics Research, the top-three monetization models for Wi-Fi services were pre-pay, bundled with mobile broadband subscription, and tiered hotspots. 

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