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Comcast, Charter tag-team on wireless to stay competitive

The cable providers hope that by combining their efforts on wireless they'll be able to compete with giants like Verizon and AT&T.

Comcast and Charter will get their engineers to work together on new tech.
Robert Alexander, Getty Images

Two of the largest cable companies in the US will work together to compete with other giants on providing wireless services.

Comcast and Charter hope their combined size will help them to negotiate better contracts that in turn would mean they can provide their customers with more choice, more products and more competitive prices.

The two companies already have agreements in place with Verizon that let them resell its wireless services in their respective regions. In April, for instance, Comcast unveiled Xfinity Mobile, a wireless service expected to launch in the middle of the year, running on Verizon's network under a reseller agreement.

In future, if the cable companies agree to deals with other wireless providers, they'll have to do so together.

Monday's news comes as yet another wave in the increasingly tempestuous waters of providing internet and other services to consumers. It's no longer enough to be just a cable company or just a wireless company. Among other comminglings, Verizon's dipping its toes into the media business with its AOL and Yahoo deals, and AT&T's bulking up on video via satellite provider DirecTV.

Comcast and Charter said that the partnership, announced Monday, will allow them to become competitors with the likes of Verizon and AT&T, the largest wireless providers in the US by number of customers, and to boost innovation by getting their engineers to work closely together. It will also increase their joint potential for making money as the demand for cable TV packaged decline.

Tom Rutledge, chairman and CEO of Charter, said in a statement that the company has "tremendous opportunity in front of us in the wireless space."

"Both of our companies have regional wireless businesses using the same 4G LTE network, and by working together our goal is to create even better experiences for our customers," added Brian Roberts, chairman and CEO of Comcast.

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