In another possible signal of Comcast's (NASDAQ: CMCSA) intent to enter the wireless business, CTI Towers Inc., a company majority-owned by the MSO's venture capital arm, has acquired 120 communications towers from Vyve Broadband.
Tenants for the towers include the four major U.S. wireless carriers: AT&T (NYSE: T), Verizon (NYSE: VZ), T-Mobile (NYSE:TMUS) and Sprint (NYSE: S). Broadcasters, utility companies and government agencies also lease the facilities.
"CTI's rapid growth shows their knowledge of the U.S. tower market and unparalleled ability to execute quickly," said David Zilberman, managing director at Comcast Ventures, in a prepared statement. "We're excited for the company's strong and growing portfolio."
Silicon Valley-based Comcast Ventures formed CTI Towers Inc. in 2011, headquartering it in Franklin, Mass., and launching with 800 towers in 39 states.
As for what the tower acquisition means in terms of Comcast's long-term strategy, that remains unclear. Comcast reps have yet to respond to FierceCable's inquiry about that today.
Comcast's possible entry into the wireless business has been a hot topic since Oct. 20, when Verizon CMO Fran Shammo said that the MSO was executing on a four-year-old option to license an MVNO agreement with the No. 1 wireless carrier.
During Comcast's third-quarter earnings call on Oct. 27, CEO Brian Roberts was asked if the MSO would combine its 11.7 million Wi-Fi hotspots with the Verizon MVNO agreement to launch a wireless product.
"Let me just say that we believe that wireless obviously is an important area for consumers and how they are in the future and today," he said. "We have incredible success with our Wi-Fi network, which is the largest in-home Wi-Fi network, as well as terrific out-of-home Wi-Fi. We're seeing a majority of bits travel over that Wi-Fi network.
"But it takes about six month to activate the MVNO," Roberts added. "We've told everybody that before that we were going to trial some things and test some things after we activate, and we'll update people as that progresses. But it's an opportunity to take the network and the investments we made a successful investment that we've made, and try and see if we can continue relationships and product innovation that the team is working on."
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