(Update) Comcast Denies T-Mobile Interest

Cable giant is reportedly the leading bidder for phone service provider.

Photo | Jeff Fusco

Photo | Jeff Fusco

[Updated 11:50 a.m.] Or maybe not.

We’ve just heard from a source — who wished to be identified only as a “source familiar with the company’s thinking” on such matters, who assures us that Comcast has no interest in purchasing T-Mobile. He asked for anonymity because the company typically doesn’t comment on rumored transactions.

Of course, such rumors regularly appear regarding Comcast’s intentions, but the company is being aggressive about (anonymously) quashing this one.

[Original] If at first you don’t succeed…

Comcast, still licking its wounds from the failure of its proposed merger with Time Warner Cable, is reportedly the leading bidder to acquire wireless phone service provider T-Mobile.


Comcast and Deutsche Telekom are exploring the possibility of the cable provider acquiring T-Mobile, German publication Manager Magazin is reporting Wednesday, citing people who claim to have knowledge of the discussions. Deutsche Telekom, the Germany-based carrier that owns T-Mobile, has yet to finalize a deal and is talking to several companies, including satellite TV company Dish Network, but believes Comcast would be the best suitor, according to the report.

The Comcast-haters at BGR don’t like the idea, saying Comcast has “a unique talent for wrecking potentially cool products and services”:

T-Mobile has added some much needed competition and innovation to the wireless market over the past two years thanks to its creative initiatives that have included early smartphone upgrade plans, paying off new customers’ early termination fees, giving customers rollover data options, and ditching the traditional two-year service contract wireless business model. These moves have been good for consumers and have forced rival carriers to play catch up.

These are also the kinds of moves that Comcast traditionally hates. Like a lot of cable companies, Comcast likes it best when it doesn’t have to compete. Instead, it would rather establish a regional monopoly and squeeze customers constantly through price increases and mystery fees while padding its margins by under-investing in areas like customer service.

Comcast has reportedly been looking to get into the wireless phone service sector for some time, with a particular eye toward using its network of wifi “hot spots” to to provide service instead of a traditional cellular network. Those plans have never come to fruition, though, and indeed may have been deemed infeasible in the face of consumer pushback and lawsuits challenging Comcast’s right to piggyback its services to the public using equipment in the homes and businesses of its customers.

Then again, Comcast may be going where the web leads it — consumers increasingly accessing online services through the “mobile web” these days instead of traditional computers and laptops.

No word on a timeline for the buyout decision.