Comcast is looking for 'a reason that makes sense' to offer wireless phone service

Brian Roberts Comcast 7981Michael SetoBusiness Insider’s Henry Blodget interviews Comcast CEO Brian Roberstson stage.

Comcast is experimenting with a plan to expand into the wireless phone business, but the cable company is still trying to find the right mix of features and business model, CEO Brian Roberts said.

“We’re looking for enhanced features, we’re looking for value add, we’re looking for a reason that makes sense,” Roberts said during a talk at Business Insider’s IGNITION conference in New York on Tuesday.

Roberts noted that Comcast has dabbled in the wireless phone service in the past but that it “hasn’t been a huge success.”

But the company will “experiment” in wireless, and is looking at its relationship with several of the large wireless operators including Verizon and Sprint and others, Roberts said. Comcast secured the right to use part of Verizon’s wireless network in a deal several years ago, and Comcast said in October that it planed to test some things after a six-month waiting period to invoke the Verizon deal is completed.

Analysts believe that Comcast could offer wireless phone that relies primarily on WiFi hotspots and uses Verizon’s network as a back and to to fill-in areas without adequate Wi-fi coverage.

Asked on Tuesday if Comcast would begin selling wireless voice service to customers of its cable and broadband service, Roberts said “we might.” He added that Comcast would have more to talk about “as the year goes on next year.”

Entering the phone market could help Comcast tap into a new revenue stream as its cable TV business faces pressure.

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