Comcast’s Evolving Wireless Strategy
Five years ago, we launched Xfinity Mobile as a new kind of mobile service that leverages the best of cellular and broadband together in one product. Since then, we’ve added more than 4.5 million customer lines and have become one of the top-rated providers for customer satisfaction and value.
By combining our best-in-class broadband service, the nation’s largest WiFi network, and a great MVNO partnership, we’ve been able to deliver a world-class connectivity experience for Xfinity Mobile and Comcast Business Mobile customers that meets their high expectations at home, in the office, and on the go.
Our original strategy from back in 2017 still holds true today – provide a high-quality wireless service with the best devices that delivers more value to our Internet customers and, in turn, encourages them to stay with us and attract new ones along the way. With these key pillars as our north star, our wireless efforts turned profitable in 2021 and is now an opportunity for growth going forward.
While our existing mobile connections (WiFi and MVNO) continue to deliver as planned, several years ago we began acquiring new wireless spectrum licenses, both in the CBRS (3.5 GHz) and 600 MHz frequencies, to add a third layer to our wireless network strategy. By coupling CBRS spectrum, which provides localized network capacity, with the low-band 600MHz spectrum, which provides broad wireless coverage, we plan to efficiently deliver new 5G services that both improve our customer’s experience and lower our overall service costs.
We have no plans to build out a full national wireless network, rather, where it makes sense, we plan to selectively deploy our own 5G radios in dense, high-traffic areas of the markets we serve today. Our current spectrum holdings cover roughly 80 percent of Comcast’s homes passed and around 50 percent of the U.S. population, and those are the areas where we’ll focus. Because we know where Xfinity Mobile and Comcast Business Mobile customers use the most cellular data, we now have the option to economically deploy additional 5G capacity to better serve our customers and deliver even more value through our mobile service.
In September 2022 we took another step forward in our strategy by announcing that Samsung Electronics will supply their 5G radio solutions for these efforts. In addition to using Samsung’s existing CBRS and 600 MHz radio solutions, we’ll be introducing Samsung’s newly developed 5G CBRS Strand Small Cell that can be mounted on our existing aerial cable lines quickly and cost-effectively, as shown in the image below.
In September 2022, Comcast announced it was working with Samsung to deliver 5G Radio Access Network (RAN) solutions that can be used to enhance 5G connectivity for Xfinity Mobile and Comcast Business Mobile customers in Comcast service areas.
This innovative compact and light weight new product gives us the flexibility to add 5G coverage across almost anywhere you see aerial cable lines. After successful technical trials, we’ve begun Comcast employee testing on this new 5G network during 2022.
As we look ahead, we’re excited about the possibilities of what our mobile experience can deliver. We have the nation’s largest WiFi network, a great MVNO partner with a leading cellular network, and our own best-in-class broadband service delivering industry-leading speeds and prices that continue to receive top marks from our customers. Our capital-light approach to expand 5G connectivity in places where our customers need it most is an additional way for us to further build upon this early success. Stay tuned for more details as we continue to move down this new and exciting path.
Tom Nagel is SVP, Wireless Strategy