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.

Product Review

Samsung's $99 fitness tracker takes on Fitbit. Can it keep pace?

Samsung’s going toe-to-toe against Fitbit’s Inspire HR with its own $99 fitness tracker -- the Galaxy Fit. It also has a heart rate monitor, can automatically detect six workouts, and has a battery that can last for days.
Deals

The Samsung Galaxy S10 smartphone gets a $100 price cut on Amazon

The Samsung Galaxy S10 sits right in the middle of the phone maker's 2019 lineup. But despite its middle child status, the S10 is a great phone. And we've found a deal on an unlocked version on Amazon that will save you $100 this weekend.
Mobile

Samsung dismisses rumors of a revitalized Galaxy Fold launching in July

The Samsung Galaxy Fold is real, but for how long? Folding out from a 4.6-inch display to a tablet-sized 7.3-inch display, this unique device has six cameras, two batteries, and special software to help you use multiple apps.
Mobile

Huawei's folding phone held back for more tests, will be released in September

The Huawei Mate X is an exciting 5G folding smartphone with stunning looks. The Mate X has three screens, a clever hinge system, and a Leica camera. All the details you need to know are right here.
Android

You can pre-order the Galaxy S10 5G from Sprint starting today

Samsung announced a whopping four new Galaxy S10 devices, from the low-cost S10e to the triple-camera S10 and S10 Plus. But it's the Galaxy S10 5G that steals the show, as it's the first 5G-ready smartphone to hit the market.
Mobile

These are the best Moto Z4 cases to boost your new phone’s longevity

The Moto Z4 is the newest way to experience Motorola's flagship range. But just because it's cheap, doesn't mean that it's expendable. Make sure your new and beautiful Moto Z4 survives for a long time with one of the best Moto Z4 cases.
Mobile

5 features I’d like to see in Google’s Pixel 4 smartphone

We’ve had a sneak peek at Google’s forthcoming Pixel 4 smartphone, and it offers few clues about what we’ll get. These are the 5 features I’d like to see Google include to take the Pixel line to the next level.
Mobile

Pixel 4 gets spotted in real world, showing not even Google can stop the leaks

Rumors abound about the Google Pixel 4, Google's next Pixel phone following the Pixel 3 and Pixel 3a. Getting around the leaks, Google straight-up teased an image of the back of the phone. Here's what you need to know.
Home Theater

Diagnose and fix some common Apple AirPods problems with our handy guide

Apple’s AirPods are among the best fully wireless earbuds we’ve seen, but they’re not perfect. If you’re having trouble, take a look at our guide to the most common problems and what you can do to fix them.
Deals

Fitbit Versa and Samsung Gear fitness smartwatches get big Amazon price cuts

Some of the best options can get pretty pricey, but with smartwatch discounts on the Fitbit Versa and Samsung Gear Sport, they are really quite affordable right now. You can save up to $125 on a new fitness watch.
Mobile

Huawei’s lock screen ads were a mistake, but may be a sign of things to come

Ads were placed on the lock screen of Huawei device owners yesterday, causing outcry on forums and social media. Huawei initially said it wasn't responsible, but that's no longer the case. Here's what happened.
Mobile

These are the best Pixel 3a XL cases and covers to protect your Google phone

If you want to change up the look or feel of your new Google phone, you want some decent drop protection, or both, then we have you covered with this list of the best Google Pixel 3a XL cases and covers.
Deals

The best Amazon Prime Day 2019 deals: Leaked date and what you need to know

Amazon Prime Day 2019 is still a month away, but it's never too early to start preparing. We've been taking a look at the best discounts from previous Prime Days to give you our predictions of what to expect this year.
Photography

Tapped out? Edit faster with 5 gesture shortcuts in Lightroom CC on mobile

Missing those keyboard shortcuts when photo editing on a smartphone or iPad? Lightroom has a handful of gesture-based controls that can help fill the gaps, if you know where to find them.