CEO: Comcast 'very much' part of mobile video conversation with Wi-Fi

Just as operators like Verizon (NYSE: VZ) and AT&T (NYSE: T) hone their mobile video strategies, Comcast (NASDAQ: CMCSA) CEO Brian Roberts says the cable company is "very much" part of the conversation going forward with Wi-Fi.

"I think video services on the mobile networks, we haven't seen the latest announcements in action yet, but all that works better on Wi-Fi and people's bills don't go up," Roberts said during the cable conglomerate's appearance at the Goldman Sachs Communicopia investment bank conference in New York, according to a Seeking Alpha transcript. "And so I think we are going to be -- we are thinking we are very much part of this conversation on a go-forward basis. We have relationships that can be put together in new business constructs that we have not heretofore done," he said.

"We don't have news today other than we are working on ways to take our Wi-Fi, our 11 million hotspots, our MVNO relationships -- everyday, it's a competitive space," he said, noting the announcements from Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) about leasing phones. "We are hopeful that as people make decisions, they are going to want our Wi-Fi and our relationship, our broadband, as part of that."

The fact that Comcast has 11 million hotspots is worth noting given it most recently counted more than 10 million public hotspots during its second-quarter earnings announcement. That's a lot of growth considering that in April 2014, the company had just passed 1 million hotspots, with plans to hit 8 million by the end of 2014.

Last week at the CTIA Super Mobility 2015 conference in Las Vegas, Verizon Wireless EVP Marni Walden said Verizon sent out private invitations to 5 million customers for its Go90 over-the-top mobile video service ahead of a nationwide launch later this month, when the Go90 application will be available to customers on all wireless carriers and over Wi-Fi.

At the same investor conference where Comcast presented this week, AT&T CFO John Stephens said AT&T's video strategy will include mobile components and extending its in-home TV strategy. AT&T's LTE network, which covers around 310 million POPs, is already a "video-centric" network and has been for some time, he said.

In July, The Wall Street Journal reported that Comcast and Verizon Communications were discussing whether and how they should renegotiate a contract dating from 2011 that lets Comcast operate as an MVNO of Verizon Wireless. That agreement stems from Verizon's 2011 purchase of AWS-1 spectrum from Comcast, Time Warner Cable (NYSE: TWC), Bright House Networks and Cox Communications. The FCC approved the deals in the summer of 2012 and permitted the MVNO agreements, but the cable companies didn't launch wireless offerings related to that deal.

At that time, a person close to Comcast, who insisted on anonymity, told FierceWireless that Comcast thinks it has a "very attractive" agreement that gives it the flexibility it needs to compete in wireless. The agreement also covers future advances in wireless technologies.  

For more:
- listen to the webcast (reg. req.)
- see FierceCable's take

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