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Government // Mobile & Wireless
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9/16/2009
04:27 PM
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Comcast Pushing TV To Phones

The cable company will likely use WiMax to bring television shows to cell phones and smartphones.

Comcast said Wednesday it planned to bring television shows to cell phones and smartphones as part of its push to offer more mobile services.

Speaking during the Goldman Sachs Communicopia conference, Comcast CFO Michael Angelakis said it would eventually allow its cable television subscribers to watch shows via the Web at no additional charge. This would also be open to cell phones via a mobile browser, or potentially as applications on devices like iPhone or BlackBerry smartphones. Angelakis also said he could envision the company's On Demand video service having a wireless component in the future.

Mobile television services have long been popular in markets like Japan, but the service has yet to significantly take off in the United States despite strong investments from the likes of AT&T and Verizon Wireless. One inhibitor of this service is that it has generally carried a monthly fee of $10 or more, but there are signs that the market is poised to grow.

Sprint Nextel now includes its mobile TV services with any of its Everything Data plans, and Flo TV has recently completed its nationwide rollout. Additionally, the Open Mobile Video Coalition is rolling out a free mobile TV standard across the United States that will be usable with future cell phones, laptops, video game systems, and other portable gadgets.

Comcast's mobile service would likely be delivered over WiMax, as Comcast and other cable companies have invested in Clearwire and its 4G networks. Comcast has already started to resell Clearwire's WiMax service in certain markets, and Angelakis indicated the company could eventually add voice components to its wireless packages.

If it adds wireless voice services, Comcast would be able to offer customers the "quadruple play," where one company provides users with home telephone, mobile phone, cable TV, and Internet services. This would increase competition with telecoms like AT&T and Verizon, who are already capable of quadruple play offerings in certain markets with U-Verse and FiOS.


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