Comcast is in the early stages of building a wireless phone service that would primarily depend on Wi-Fi to work, according to The Information. The rumored model resembles what we've seen from small companies like Republic Wireless in the US. Comcast would rely on Wi-Fi from wireless routers and public hotspots to handle the bulk of its services, and the company would lease spectrum from traditional carriers (likely Verizon) for instances where Wi-Fi coverage is unavailable. This hybrid Wi-Fi / cellular approach has allowed Republic Wireless to undercut larger wireless carriers drastically; the company's monthly plans start at just $5. Republic has had plenty of time to work on and improve things like call quality and Wi-Fi-to-cell handoff, challenges that Comcast would need to contend with if it were to move ahead with a phone service.
As The Information notes, Comcast already has a nationwide presence in terms of customer service centers and retail locations. Those are resources the company would likely lean on if it chose to launch a wireless voice service. But there are plenty of y potential complications that stand in the way, and it's unclear whether Comcast would be willing to take a chance on such a bold plan — particularly as it continues to pursue a buyout of Time Warner Cable. Even if it doesn't have ambitions of taking on Verizon and AT&T, positioning itself as a potential carrier might raise new concerns about Comcast's expanding role in media and communication.