A few weeks ago, Verizon Wireless and Comcast took the first steps foward with a partnership involving spectrum deals and an agreement to sell each others' services. The wireless giant started offering Comcast's Xfinity internet, TV, and home phone services in Portland and Seattle, but there's a few potential conflicts that could crop up — specifically, the fact that Verizon also is heavily invested in its FiOS services which compete directly with Comcast. While Portland and Seattle are both markets where FiOS is unavailable, The Wall Street Journal is reporting that as the Verizon Wireless / Comcast partnership expands, it could start encroaching upon FiOS areas, setting up a potentially awkward conflict between Verizon's wireless and telecommunications arms.
There's already some oddity on display: a page on Verizon Wireless' website claims Comcast offers "the fastest Internet service in the nation," while the Verizon FiOS page simultaneously claims it "beats every other cable provider in speed reliability." Comcast is even expecting to use this disconnect to weaken the position of FiOS going forward: last month, Comcast Chief Executive Neil Smit indicated that his company will work with Verizon Wireless to develop new products with the goal of giving Comcast "a very important strategic competitive advantage." Smit then confirmed that Comcast would be able to use that advantage against Verizon in areas where FiOS and Comcast compete.
All this action comes even though Verizon hasn't yet managed to wrap up its $3.6 billion spectrum purchase from Comcast and Time Warner, a deal that's still under investigation by the FCC. We're still waiting to hear from the Department of Justice and the FCC, but it's clear both companies are taking this partnership seriously and hope to have joint services available as soon as possible.