×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Cablers to reap wireless windfall

Comcast, TWC to sell spectrum licenses to Verizon

The nation’s two largest cable companies, Comcast and Time Warner Cable, will reap a windfall selling spectrum to Verizon, announcing Friday plans to unload $3.6 billion worth of licenses, as well as an ongoing collaboration where the erstwhile rival cable and telco groups will sell each others’ services.

Comcast, TWC and smaller player Bright House Networks, the three partners in a venture called Spectrum Co., will take in, respectively, $2.3 billion, $1.1 billion and $189 million from the sale of 122 advanced wireless services spectrum licenses to Verizon.

The companies said the cablers on one hand and Verizon Wireless on the other will also become agents to sell one another’s products and, over time, the cablers will have the option of selling Verizon Wireless service on a wholesale basis. Cable companies and Verizon Wireless have formed a venture to develop technology that will better integrate wireline and wireless products and services.

The deal was inked at a time when consumer demand for wireless services and bandwidth is increasing rapidly, and ahead of likely government action to free up even more spectrum.

Comcast Cable prexy Neil Smit said the agreements, together with the Philadelphia giant’s Wi-Fi plans, “enable us to execute a comprehensive, long-term wireless strategy and expand our focus on providing mobility to our Xfinity services.”

“Spectrum is the raw material on which wireless networks are built,” said Dan Mead, CEO of Verizon Wireless. “Americans deserve excellence from a wireless service provider, and innovative wireless companies plan ahead in order to deliver on that expectation.”

Time Warner Cable prexy Rob Marcus said he’s pleased at the price the partners got for the spectrum and “excited to be able to offer the nation’s best wireless services to our customers and to have Verizon Wireless as a sales channel for our superb wireline services.”

His investors were also pleased with the unexpected cash inflow. Time Warner Cable shares were higher in early trading, up 2.36% at $62.36.

Comcast shares got a boost too, rising 2.66% to $23.17.

Both were running ahead of the overall market.

Verizon shares lagged, up only 0.24% to $37.86.

The sale is subject to FCC approval.

Popular on Variety

More TV

  • George Schweitzer, President of CBS Marketing

    Amazon's Mike Benson Will Succeed George Schweitzer as CBS Marketing Chief

    George Schweitzer has enjoyed a broad career out of a very narrow practice. He finds new ways to get people to watch more TV. Those methods can range wide. He once tucked a paper-thin interactive video player into the pages of Entertainment Weekly so readers could sample new CBS shows. He got supermarkets to use [...]

  • Kane Brown 52nd Annual CMA Awards,

    CMT Boosts Kane Brown, Luke Combs, Dan + Shay as 'Artists of the Year'

    Country music’s youngest superstars don’t always catch a break with the CMA Awards. When the latest slate of nominations was announced, Kane Brown had none, and Luke Combs had a far-from-leading three. But CMT is making up the difference by including these two ascendants as part of their annual “CMT Artists of the Year” slate, [...]

  • Timothy Olyphant Once Upon a Time

    'Fargo' Season 4 Casts Timothy Olyphant in Recurring Guest Role

    Timothy Olyphant has been cast in the upcoming fourth season of “Fargo,” Variety has confirmed. Olyphant will appear in a recurring guest star role as a character named Dick “Deafy” Wickware. It was previously announced that Chris Rock would star in the fourth season of the critically-acclaimed anthology series. Other stars of “Fargo” Season 4 are: [...]

  • TV Ratings: 'Dancing With the Stars'

    TV Ratings: 'Dancing With the Stars' Premiere Flat on Last Season

    Casting Sean Spicer on “Dancing With the Stars” doesn’t seem to be having the desired effect on ratings for ABC. The show premiered its new season to a 1.0 rating and just under 8 million total viewers. That’s the same rating as the Fall 2018 season premiere which was watched by 7.7 million viewers. The [...]

  • Inside Tinder's User-Controlled, Secret Streaming Sereis

    Inside Tinder's Secret Streaming Series (EXCLUSIVE)

    Popular dating app Tinder is set to release a choose-your-own-adventure-style original series in early October, marking its first outing as a content financier and distributor, numerous individuals close to the project told Variety. The series is set against an impending apocalypse, one of the insiders noted, and asks the question “Who would you spend your [...]

  • Streaming Wars Placeholder TV

    Explosion of Streaming Services Points to Price Wars on the Horizon

    With its $800 iPhones and $1,400 Hermès smart watches, Apple’s not exactly in the business of bargain-bin pricing. But the surprisingly low-priced debut of Apple TV Plus, at $4.99 per month for a family subscription, is a signal that the streaming video market of tomorrow — soon to be awash with services from Disney, WarnerMedia [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content