While Comcast (NASDAQ: CMCSA) has been quiet about a Wi-Fi calling product, the company has filed a patent revealing the active development of the technology.
A Comcast patent at the U.S. Patent Office describes a feature that would allow a caller to make an automatic redial should a connection get suddenly dropped.
"A terminal may publish its parameters to other terminals through in-band or out-of-band signaling," reads the patent's abstract. "Token values may then be determined by a weighted sum of parameters, where the terminal having the largest weighted sum possesses the token. If the call or communication drops, the terminal possessing the token then initiates communication to the other terminals. In addition, a plurality of tokens may be used when there are more than two terminals in a call. The terminals may be partitioned into groups, where one of the terminals in each group possesses a token."
Interestingly, the patent also makes mention of calling via 3G and 4G networks as well as Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. An image associated with the patent filing appears to show mobile phone-style devices.
Of course, technology companies routinely file patents on technologies that never make it into commercial products, and patent filings do not necessarily reflect specific corporate strategies.
While a number of Comcast patents relating to Wi-Fi calling have been unearthed, the company hasn't said a lot about its plans or strategy. In February, Comcast Cable CEO Neil Smit said, "We're working on how we monetize that [Wi-Fi] asset and bring it to market. We do believe in the asset and [are] working on ways on bringing it to market in the coming months."
At the time, Comcast Corp. CEO Brian Roberts added that the company was "still assessing the possibilities" of Wi-Fi calling "We don't think this is the time where we chew open what our Wi-Fi plans are," he said.
So far, Cablevision (NYSE: CVC) is the only MSO to introduce Wi-Fi calling, launching its $10-a-month Freewheel service in January.
- read this U.S. Patent Office filing
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