Mobile

Comcast: No Immediate Plans for Newly Purchased Spectrum

But new Xfinity Mobile product isn't dependent on it 4/27/2017 7:34 PM Eastern

Comcast shed a sliver of additional light on its recently purchased spectrum from recently concluded FCC’s broadcast incentive auctions now that the quiet period associated with it is over.

RELATED: FCC Auction's Biggest TV Station Payout: $304 Million

While Comcast isn’t revealing any immediate plans for the spectrum, the company stressed Thursday (April 27) that its new mobile product, which will lean on an MVNO deal with Verizon Communications, doesn’t hinge on that new acquired mobile capacity.

RELATED: Comcast Unveils Xfinity Mobile

Here’s Comcast’s full statement released today on the matter:

“We are very pleased with the outcome of the FCC’s Broadcast Incentive Auction.  In the Reverse auction, NBC sold spectrum at attractive prices in New York (NBC - WNBC), Philadelphia (Telemundo - WWSI), and Chicago (Telemundo - WSNS) and will receive total proceeds of $481.6 million.  Additionally, with the purchase of $1.7 billion of spectrum that covers 88 percent of our footprint and most of the footprint of each of our top 25 markets, Comcast made a strategically compelling investment at historically low prices. We have no current plans for the acquired spectrum and note that the spectrum will not be cleared by the FCC and available for use for several years.  The launch and growth of our Xfinity Mobile product is not dependent on this purchased spectrum.” 

In a research note issued earlier this month, MoffettNathanson's Craig Moffett said Comcast bought less spectrum than expected, as he anticipated that the company might spend $6 billion net of proceeds from the reverse auction.

Speaking on today’s Q1 earnings call, and prior to the end of the quiet period later in the day, Comcast chairman and CEO Brian Roberts reiterated that the company expects Xfinity Mobile to be NPV (net present value)-positive per subscriber on a stand-alone basis “once we reach a limited initial scale.”

“We believe including mobile in our bundles will help improve retention and ultimately benefit lifetime customer economics,” Roberts said. “We are taking a disciplined approach to the wireless business, leveraging our existing customer relationships and infrastructure along with our access to Verizon's industry-leading wireless network.”

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