America's regional cable operators, Comcast and Charter have announced an agreement to explore potential opportunities for operational cooperation in their respective wireless businesses to accelerate and enhance each company’s ability to participate in the national wireless marketplace. The companies, which have each separately activated a mobile virtual network operator ("MVNO") reseller agreement with Verizon Wireless, have agreed to explore working together in a number of potential operational areas in the wireless space, including: creating common operating platforms; technical standards development and harmonisation; device forward and reverse logistics; and emerging wireless technology platforms.
Tom Rutledge, chairman and CEO of Charter, said: "At Charter, we have a tremendous opportunity in front of us in the wireless space. Within our footprint, our network is perfectly suited to provide the data-rich wireless services that customers are increasingly demanding. By working with the team at Comcast, we can not only speed Charter’s entry into the marketplace, it will also enable us to provide more competition and drive costs down for consumers at a similar national scale as current wireless operators. We look forward to working with Comcast through this innovative arrangement and bringing our focus on superior products and services, craftsmanship and quality customer care to the wireless space."
"We’re looking forward to launching Xfinity Mobile to our customers in the coming weeks and are excited about this opportunity to work with Charter to explore ways we can make our respective wireless initiatives more efficient and cost effective," said Brian L. Roberts, chairman and CEO of Comcast Corporation. "Both of our companies have regional wireless businesses using the same 4G LTE network, and by working together our goal is to create even better experiences for our customers."
Under the agreement, the companies have agreed not to make any major acquisition in the wireless sector without the other’s consent for one year.
The Washington Post writes: "Some policy analysts argue that, having temporarily ruled out a merger between companies in the wireless and cable sectors, the Comcast-Charter agreement will stimulate mergers among firms within the same industries, rather than more genre-breaking, cross-industry acquisitions."