Cable giants Comcast and Charter Communications — already collaborating on their respective wireless efforts — on Friday announced a 50-50 joint venture to create a unified mobile backend system.
Their wireless services, Comcast’s Xfinity Mobile and Charter’s forthcoming Spectrum Mobile, will still be offered separately, and the companies will continue to individually handle all customer-facing operations and relationships with device makers.
The two will, however, work together to create a scalable and cost-effective platform and backend system that will support mobile-related customer sales and support, billing, and device logistics and warehousing.
Comcast and Charter both operate their wireless services as MVNOs that lean on Verizon’s network, and the companies said the operating platform from the partnership can serve as the systems interface for current and any future MVNO partners.
At the outset, Charter will fund the joint initiative to offset the costs Comcast already committed to mobile-related platforms and technology. After that initial period, both partners will fund its operations equally.
Charter has modified the operating platform Comcast initially built for Xfinity Mobile, and intends to use it for its wireless service launch slated for the summer. Elements of that system will be leveraged through the partnership, according to the companies.
“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,” Charter Chief Mobile Officer Danny Bowman said in a statement. “We are excited about the launch of Spectrum Mobile in the coming months.”
Comcast debuted its Xfinity Mobile offering last May and had activated 380,000 customer lines by the end of 2017. New Street Research has predicted that figure could quickly soar to 2 million subscribers per year.
“We have built a best-in-class mobile platform for Xfinity Mobile that is resonating with customers,” said Sam Schwartz, chief business development officer for Comcast. “By collaborating with Charter, we will help drive operational and cost efficiencies for both companies.”
The partnership will be overseen by a four-person board of directors, with representation split equally between the two companies. The Philadelphia-based joint venture will utilize Comcast employees to develop the platform on behalf of both Charter and Comcast.