By Tara Lachapelle
Remember Gadfly’s media and wireless Merger Wheel? Well, its time to give it another spin because Comcast Corp. and Charter Communications Inc. just switched things up.
The two biggest U.S. cable companies have struck an agreement to work together as they branch into the wireless business and try to take on industry juggernauts Verizon Communications Inc. and AT&T Inc. The wireless companies are building 5G networks that will offer the fastest internet speeds for mobile phones and could be bundled with TV services. AT&T, for example, acquired DirecTV and introduced a live and on-demand TV app called DirecTV Now. It’s also in a bidding war for 5G spectrum-license holder Straight Path Communications Inc.
Comcast and Charter are facing that threat by wading into the wireless waters — now, together. Both have agreements that allow them to re-sell wireless services using Verizon’s network in their respective territories. Comcast’s service is imminent, while Charter’s may launch next year.