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Comcast's wireless service could be boon to SMB unit

Comcast is prepping wireless service and its biggest impact may be on its small business growth. Comcast Business is among the company's fastest growing divisions.
Written by Larry Dignan, Contributor on

Comcast CEO Brian Roberts said the cable giant is planning to offer wireless service that combines its Wi-Fi network along with Verizon Wireless on a wholesale business.

While Roberts said the general idea is that Comcast Wireless would cut churn and offer more bundle possibilities, the move is also likely to help its Comcast Business unit, the fastest growing cable division in the company, to scale faster.

Roberts added Comcast has a team of 150 people getting service ready for the middle of 2017. Speaking at the Goldman Sachs Communacopia Roberts said:

We exercised our MVNO (mobile virtual network operator) rights with Verizon Wireless as many people know. The concept would be that our very best customers of which we've got 28 million customers and well over 70% or 80% buy some sort of multi-package bundle from us we can sell them more products.

If that product can be the Verizon Wireless product, maybe improved with our Wi-Fi 15 million hotspots where it's more seamless, and we are able to give you a good value proposition 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 said there's a lot of work to do on the wireless service plans, but he wanted to be transparent given he questions about Comcast's future plans. "We have retail locations. We have many customer interaction points. We want to do it right and do it well," said Roberts.

Previously: Comcast Business targets large enterprises, launches new unit

Now let's connect a few dots from the small to mid-sized business perspective. Comcast business Services is the company's fastest growing unit. With Verizon and AT&T focused on larger companies, Comcast has worked the small business market well. For instance, Comcast's Business Services unit delivered second quarter revenue of $1.36 billion, up 17 percent from a year ago. For the first six months of 2016, Comcast Business had revenue of $2.67 billion, up from $2.28 billion a year ago.

For an SMB, Comcast is their one-stop connectivity provider with video, internet, and phone service bundled. Comcast could make it appealing to add wireless into the mix too.

It remains to be seen how Comcast's reselling of a Verizon Wireless wholesale deal will fly with consumers. My guess is it may fly a lot better with small businesses.

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