Comcast and Charter Communications have formalized a mobile operating platform partnership that will focus on the development and design of backend systems that support both Xfinity Mobile and the soon-to-launch Spectrum Mobile service.
Reports of the partnership started to surface late last year, as the MSOs continued to iron out a pact in which they’d share info and technology but keep their product offerings separate.
On Friday, they said the partnership will indeed enable each company to develop their respective mobile brands, products, and services. Charter and Comcast will also maintain their own relationships with device makers and handle other components, such as customer service, marketing, sales, pricing and packaging, on an individual basis.
They said the pact will allow both to “cost-effectively develop an efficient and scalable software platform, and related backend systems” that will power each company’s mobile-related customer sales and support platforms, device logistics and warehousing, and billing.
The partnership, they added, will use elements of the operating platform that Comcast initially developed for Xfinity Mobile. Charter has modified the operating platform for its upcoming mobile product and service platform launch.
Additionally, Charter will initially fund the joint venture, factoring in certain development costs that Comcast has already made for its mobile-related platforms and technology. Thereafter, the partners will equally fund the operations of the partnership.
The partnership will be governed by a four-person board of directors, with two directors representing each of Comcast and Charter. It will be based in Philadelphia, with Comcast employees supporting the development of the platform on behalf of both companies.
The resulting operating platform will likewise will serve as the systems interface for current and any future MVNO (mobile virtual network operator) partners, they said.
Comcast, through its MVNO with Verizon Wireless, launched Xfinity Mobile almost a year ago. Comcast added 187,000 Xfinity Mobile customer lines in Q4 2017, ending the year with more than 380,000.
Charter plans to launch a mobile service later this year that uses its MVNO agreement with Verizon and the MSO’s own WiFi network.
“Our new partnership will enable us to drive faster and more cost-effective mobile product and service enhancements and provide innovative and affordable mobile service to our customers,” Danny Bowman, Charter’s recently named chief mobile officer, said in a statement. “We are excited about the launch of Spectrum Mobile in the coming months.”
“We have built a best-in-class mobile platform for Xfinity Mobile that is resonating with customers,” added Sam Schwartz, chief business development officer for Comcast. “By collaborating with Charter, we will help drive operational and cost efficiencies for both companies.”