Move aside, Google: Comcast and WhatsApp may start wireless phone services, too

comcast whatsapp creating mobile phone service wireless carrier towers

Google is reportedly set on being your next wireless carrier, but don’t think that it will be the only tech company to offer mobile phone services. Comcast and WhatsApp may get in the game as well, though in very distinct ways.

Comcast the Carrier: Beginning with Comcast, The Information reports that it is considering offering a mobile phone service to customers. Much like Google’s reported service, Comcast’s would primarily rely on Wi-Fi from wireless routers and public hotspots. However, Comcast would also lease spectrum from other carriers in order to have a foothold in rural areas, effectively turning the cable and terrestrial Internet provider into an MVNO, or Mobile Virtual Network Operator — a company that rents airspace from a larger carrier and resells it. Comcast’s strategy is similar to Republic Wireless in that it also uses Wi-Fi and cellular data as part of its wireless network.

WhatsApp and SIM cards: WhatsApp, meanwhile, went in a more concrete direction. WhatsApp teamed up with German wireless carrier E-Plus to offer a pre-paid SIM card that gives you unlimited WhatsApp messages without using the data network. The €10 ($14) SIM card gives you 600 credits that can be used interchangeably for 1MB of data, 1 minute of a phone call, or 1 SMS text message. Each costs 1 credit. Even if you have no credit left, you can still send WhatsApp messages as you see fit.

According to WhatsApp head of business development Neeraj Arora, this deal effectively makes WhatsApp an MVNO: “This is the first kind of its deal globally between a technology company and a carrier,” said Arora. “Carriers are important strategic partners for WhatsApp and we’re constantly working with them to bring innovative offerings to users globally.”

Whether Facebook purchased WhatsApp for this purpose is not clear, but with WhatsApp enabling voice services pretty soon, it’s not a stretch to think that Facebook could use WhatsApp as a way to offer a cheap service that includes voice, text, and data. As for Comcast’s rumored service, there’s no timetable when, or if, we’ll see it go live, though given its recent filing of its merger with Time Warner Cable, it seems pretty busy right now.

Web

Google’s updated Santa Tracker entertains and teaches coding throughout December

Google's Santa Tracker is in its fifteenth year and is back again with even more features. You can have fun with more than 20 games, learn about different holiday traditions around the world, and enjoy some festive animations.
Home Theater

Looking to cut cable? Here’s everything you need to know about Pluto TV

Pluto TV offers plenty of entertainment in a fashion similar to live internet TV services, only at no cost — you don’t even need to register. Too good to be true? Here’s everything you need to know.
Mobile

Verizon begins RCS messaging rollout with the Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL

What is RCS messaging? It's the successor to today's text messaging. It offers features like real-time audio, read receipts, and encryption, but adoption so far has been slow. Here's everything you need to know.
Computing

Miss AIM? These are the best desktop chat clients to use today

Desktop chat clients are far from dead. In fact, they're currently enjoying something of a renaissance. So, which one should you be using? We take a peek at the best chat clients for teams, gamers and mainstream web surfers.
Mobile

The best weather apps for the iPhone

Don't rely solely on your local meteorologist to stay up to date on the weather. Take matters into your own hands with one of these weather apps, each of which brings something unique to the table.
Wearables

The $200 TicWatch C2 smartwatch is now being sold in the U.S. and U.K.

Digital well-being and disconnecting from your phone is one of 2018's big trends. Mobvoi wants you to think about its TicWatch C2 smartwatch as a great way to help you use your phone less.
Mobile

The Palm has been revived, and is now available in the U.S. and U.K.

A reboot of the classic Palm is finally here and it's tiny. It syncs to your phone and acts as a secondary device -- with a feature to help you disconnect from technology. The Palm will be available exclusively through Verizon for $350.
Mobile

Yes, we really are getting a special McLaren edition of the OnePlus 6T

OnePlus has announced a partnership with McLaren F1, emphasizing a shared interest in speed. The phone company is known for producing special edition devices. Here's what we know about the OnePlus 6T Mclaren Edition.
Deals

Simplify your life with one of these wireless smartphone charger deals

Banish nightly cable fumbling with a wireless smartphone charger. If your smartphone is compatible with wireless charging, the simplicity of placing it on a pad is a beautiful thing. Wireless chargers are also excellent gifts for coworkers.
Mobile

Microsoft Outlook for iOS gets big redesign, with Dark Mode coming soon

Microsoft has deployed a huge redesign for its Outlook for iOS app, which includes new blue branding and some quality-of-life improvements. Dark Mode isn't included, but it's coming soon.
Computing

Our favorite Windows apps will help you get the most out of your new PC

Not sure what apps you should be downloading for your newfangled Windows device? Here are the best Windows apps, whether you need something to speed up your machine or access your Netflix queue. Check out our categories and favorite picks.
Mobile

5G’s arrival is transforming tech. Here’s everything you need to know to keep up

It has been years in the making, but 5G is finally becoming a reality. While 5G coverage is still extremely limited, expect to see it expand in 2019. Not sure what 5G even is? Here's everything you need to know.
Mobile

Car-branded phones need to make a U-turn if they ever want to impress

Your car and your smartphone are becoming one, yet smartphones branded or co-created by car companies are a problem. We look at the history, some examples of the best and worst, then share hopes for the future.
Mobile

Vanquish lag for good with the best routers for gaming

Finding the best routers for gaming is no easy task. With so many out there, how do you know which to pick? We've looked at the many options available and put together a list of our lag-free favorites.