In reference to a Citigroup Inc. report that said Comcast ought to buy Verizon Communications Inc. (VZ) - Get Report for $215 billion, Roberts hinted that not only would his company not buy a nationwide wireless business, it doesn't make any sense to do.
"No disrespect to wireless, but it's a tough business," Roberts said on an investor conference call. "I don't see something happening in that industry that we would envy a position that we don't have today."
For years, analysts and investors have speculated that Comcast would get into the wireless business. At various times, Comcast has been encouraged to buy Sprint Corp. (S) - Get Report or T-Mobile US Inc. (TMUS) - Get Report . Citigroup media analyst Jason Bazinet said Comcast should offer a 20% premium to Verizon's current stock price.
Yet Roberts on Thursday made clear that just as he has for years, Comcast has stayed out of the wireless until earlier this year when it introduced Xfinity Mobile, marketing the service only to its current customers.
The big difference with Xfinity Mobile and nationwide operators is that Xfinity Mobile uses a combination of cellular and about 16,000 Wi-Fi hotspots. Integral to Comcast's plan, is a 2011 deal with Verizon whereby Comcast exchanged spectrum that Verizon could use to expand its cellular network for an agreement that Verizon allow Comcast to use its cellular infrastructure in the future.
By waiting, Roberts has been able to offer wireless to existing customers without having to sustain a service where margins are steadily eroding.
"We really feel we're not missing anything," Roberts added. "It's really early, but we like what we're doing with Xfinity Mobile."
Comcast shares were gaining 1.5% to $39.95, extending its 2017 advance to 16%.
For its second quarter, Comcast reported a nearly 10% jump in revenue to $21.6 billion and a 10% increase in adjusted earnings, or cash flow, to $7.09 billion. Earnings per share reached 52 cents, beating a consensus forecast for 49 cents per share.
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