Comcast Touts New Wireless Service As Consumer Voice Revenues Fall

Following the broader industry trend, Comcast is bracing for the day that its customers give up their home phones for mobile devices.

The cable giant unveiled its wireless service, Xfinity Mobile, earlier this month. The service will rely on a combination of Verizon's 4G LTE network and Comcast's 16 million Wi-Fi hotspots. The new wireless service comes as voice revenues continued its decline, falling 3.6 percent to $863 million in Q1 2017, down from $896 million in the year-ago quarter, the company reported Thursday morning.

During Comcast's Q1 2017 earnings call, Brian Roberts, chairman and CEO of Comcast, said the new service would tap its existing customer base, who can bundle Xfinity Mobile with its cable, internet and landline voice services.

[Related: Comcast Takes The Plunge Into Wireless With Launch Of Xfinity Mobile]

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"We believe including mobile in our bundles will help improve retention, and ultimately benefit lifetime customer economics," Roberts said. "We are taking a disciplined approach to the wireless business."

Meanwhile, Comcast's cable communications division enjoyed healthy gains in Q1, driven by business services revenues that continue to climb each quarter.

Business services revenues increased 13.6 percent to $1.49 billion during Q1 2017, compared to Q1 2016's $1.31 billion. Michael Cavanagh, Comcast's senior executive vice president and CFO, attributed the "double-digit" growth to an increase in small business customers, and "continued growth" in medium-sized business services.

Once again, the small business segment accounted for about 70 percent of Comcast's business services revenue and about 60 percent of its revenue growth in overall business services.

Comcast added 34,000 new business customer relationships during the first quarter, with most being small business customers, Cavanagh said.

Roberts added that Comcast is at 40 percent market penetration in the small business space and has been actively working to grow its presence within the midmarket and enterprise. Midmarket penetration is at 10 percent, while enterprise is under 5 percent, he said.

"We think [midmarket and enterprise] are good, sound areas to keep investing in," he said. "We like our growth … but we will continue to invest to keep that going."

Cable communications revenue saw an overall increase of 5.8 percent from $12.20 billion last year to $12.91 billion during the quarter thanks to growth in high-speed internet and video, in addition to business services, the Philadelphia-based company said.

Comcast announced that its cable division would be under new leadership earlier this month. Dave Watson, Comcast's new president and CEO of Comcast Cable and senior executive vice president took over for Neil Smit as of April 1. Smit has transitioned to a new role as vice chairman of Comcast Corp., according to the cable giant.

Comcast reported that Q1 2017 was its "fastest start" since 2012. The cable giant posted earnings of 53 cents per share on revenues of $20.46 billion, an 8.9 percent increase over Q1 2016's result of 43 cents per share and $18.79 billion in revenue.

Net income saw a 20.2 percent increase to $2.57 billion in the first quarter, up from $2.13 billion in Q1 2016.

Comcast's revenue exceeded Wall Street's estimates of 44 cents a share on $20.1 billion in revenue, according to Thomson Reuters.