Comcast Expands 4G Networks

Based on the mammoth success of High-Speed 2go 4G offering introduced in May 2010, Comcast Corp. (CMCSA) has now launched 4G high-speed 2go wireless data service in the Boston area.

High-Speed 2go is a mobile Internet solution that provides the fastest available wireless Internet speeds in the nation via wireless data cards and comes in three different data cards and service plans; 1) Comcast High-Speed 2go Metro (4G), 2) Comcast High-Speed 2go Nationwide (3G) and 3) High-Speed 2go Nationwide Preferred (3G/4G). Each service will have its own data card and service plans.

The “Metro” service uses a 4G-only card and only operates within the 4G metro coverage area. The “Nationwide” service operates on the metro 4G network plus Sprint Nextel Corp.’s (S) national 3G network. The “Nationwide Preferred” service functions by switching between available 4G and 3G networks.

Comcast’s 4G service is being provided via Clearwire Corp.’s (CLWR) WiMAX network and its 3G service is being provided by Sprint’s nationwide 3G network. The WiMAX connection will offer wireless data transmission at speeds five times faster than the 3G connections currently provided by the company. Under the “High-Speed 2go” brand, this service is already covering 17 million households.

Comcast has been aggressively deploying the DOCSIS 3.0 (also called Wideband) technology to upgrade its existing customers to high-speed network, along with all digital networks. The company already upgraded 80% of its customers to DOCSIS 3.0 and 60% of them to all digital networks. The rest of the deployment will be completed by the end of 2010. With DOCSIS 3.0, the company is now able to offer one of the fastest Internet speeds available in the market. The company has not only doubled the speed for its customers but also offers new higher-speed service plans.

Comcast is facing competition from Cablevision Systems Corp. (CVC), which became the first U.S. cable MSO to launch a 100 Mbps broadband service using DOCSIS 3.0. Comcast‘s other competitor Mediacom Communications Corp. (MCCC) is opting for 105 Mbps download speed. Time Warner Cable (TWC) is also posing threat to Comcast by offering 4G WiMAX services and plans to launch the Wideband network for residential customers.

Comcast is selling this wireless service bundled with one or more of its popular Internet, phone and television products, providing mobile broadband wherever and whenever customers need to be connected.

We maintain our Neutral recommendation on Comcast. It is currently a Zacks #3 Rank (Hold) stock.

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