Comcast Talking to Sprint, Others About Wireless

Comcast chairman and CEO Brian Roberts said the cable giant is talking to wireless carriers in addition to Verizon Communications – including No. 3 carrier Sprint – about possible agreements for a hybrid WiFi-cellular phone product.

Comcast activated its Mobile Virtual Network Operator (MVNO) agreement with Verizon in October, and according to reports, Roberts said at the Business Insider Ignition conference Tuesday the cable company is speaking with other carriers about forging a similar relationship. 

Comcast’s Verizon arrangement is part of the 2011 sale of spectrum by a consortium of cable operators including Comcast, Time Warner Cable and Bright House Networks called SpectrumCo to Verizon for $3.9 billion. As part of the deal, the SpectrumCo parties had the right to resell a wireless product under their own brand using Verizon’s network. But according to Comcast, once Verizon is notified of the intent to invoke the MVNO option, it would take at least six months before a product could be launched.

Comcast has kept its wireless plans close to the vest. According to Bloomberg News, asked at the conference if the cable giant might sell phones in conjunction with a wireless offering, Roberts answered “we might.”

“We have been looking at our relationship with Verizon, and Sprint and others where we have the right to wholesale the network and marry it with our Wi-Fi,” Roberts said, according to Bloomberg. “We’re going to experiment in that area.”