A little over a year ago, cable giant Comcast announced its plans to offer cellular phone service to costumers. This week, the company announced that it will begin offering cell phone service to it subscribers in Boston and Portland, Oregon later this month, and plans to expand the offer to the rest of the country in the coming months. Comcast is partnering with Sprint Nextel in this effort. Among the features being offered, the company will integrate cell phone charges with the rest of their video and data services on a single bill. Subscribers will also have access to a ?universal? voice mailbox, which will send a notice to their cell phone when they have a received a voicemail on their home phone. Comcast also plans to release technology that makes it possible to record TV programming via cellular devices. Of course, there is a catch. Comcast and rival Time Warner Cable (who is also beginning to offer these services in Austin, Texas and Raleigh, North Carolina) will require consumers to purchase at least one additional service (such as cable television or high-speed Internet service) when buying a cell phone package. While this ?bundling? of services may make sense for the cable providers, consumers will want to compare prices among all wireless services to see if the switch is a money saver. The exact service launch date and service prices have not yet been released, but fees are expected to be competitive with other national cellular phone plans.
Telecommunications Research and Action Center. http://www.trac.org