Comcast to launch wireless service 'by mid-2017'

Comcast to launch wireless service 'by mid-2017'

Cable giant Comcast has set out plans to launch a wireless service by mid-2017 as it looks to retain customers in the fiercely competitive pay-TV market.

Speaking at a Goldman Sachs investor conference, chief executive Brian Roberts said the product will take advantage of Comcast’s 15 million Wi-Fi hotspots, alongside spectrum rented from Verizon Communications in a deal dating back to 2011.

The service will be marketed within Comcast’s existing footprint to existing and potential customers, as opposed to a nationwide rollout. This could include all but eight of the 50 US states.

Comcast leases bandwidth on Verizon's network as part of a Justice Department agreement in which the operator bought $3.6 billion in wireless spectrum from Comcast and other pay-TV companies.

"If you are one of our better customers, we believe there will be a big payback with reduced churn, with more stickiness, with better satisfaction, more product purchasing from us," Roberts explained.

Comcast’s ambitions to enter the mobile space are no secret. It has already appointed Greg Butz in an executive role to head up Comcast Mobile, a department made up of 150 people.

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