Comcast will start reselling Verizon Wireless (NYSE:VZ) products in four of its markets early next year as part of a spectrum deal Verizon inked with Comcast and other cable companies last week, according to a top Comcast executive.
Comcast Cable CEO Neil Smit made the comments at the UBS Global Media and Communications Conference, and said that even though Comcast will wind down its wholesale relationships with Clearwire (NASDAQ:CLWR) and Sprint Nextel (NYSE:S), Comcast will retain its 9 percent equity stake in Clearwire "for the foreseeable future."
Verizon said on Friday it will pay $3.6 billion to buy the nationwide AWS spectrum licenses held by SpectrumCo, a joint venture of cable companies Comcast, Time Warner Cable and Bright House Networks, in a move that reshuffles the nation's spectrum landscape and represents another nail in the coffin for cable companies' independent wireless ambitions. Both Comcast and Time Warner plan to quit reselling Clearwire's WiMAX service in about six months (some of the USB modems Comcast and Time Warner sold also accessed Sprint's EV-DO data network).
Time Warner CFO Irene Esteves was also speaking at the UBS conference and said Time Warner will start selling Verizon's wireless products next year, but did not give a timeframe. Interestingly, Time Warner spokesman Justin Venech told FierceWireless that Time Warner expects to "offer all the products and services Verizon Wireless offers--this is not just about data cards." Venech also said Time Warner will retain its 4.7 equity percent stake in Clearwire.
Both Comcast and Time Warner plan to continue to compete with Verizon's FiOS TV and Internet offering in markets where they overlap. FiOS is provided by Verizon Communications, one of Verizon Wireless' two parent companies.
- see this Reuters article
- see this Multichannel News article
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