Comcast Cable Smashes Records With Wins In Wireless, High-Speed Internet

The cable giant reported record net customer additions for high-speed internet services in fourth-quarter 2020 and cable results that ‘were nothing short of exceptional,’ according to Comcast Chairman and CEO Brian Roberts.

Cable behemoth Comcast had a record-breaking 2020 driven by its strength in core connectivity, high-speed internet and its four-year-old wireless offering, Xfinity Mobile.

“2020 was one of the most uncertain and challenging periods that any of us can remember, but we rose to the occasion. … This year’s cable results were nothing short of exceptional,” Comcast Chairman and CEO Brian Roberts told investors during the carrier’s fiscal fourth-quarter 2020 conference call Thursday morning.

Comcast’s Cable Communications increased its total number of customer relationships by 455,000 in the quarter, marking the best-fourth quarter result for the business unit. The segment now has 33.1 million customers, according to Comcast.

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The total number of high-speed internet customers, including residential and business users, was 538,000, also the best fourth-quarter result on record. For the full year, high-speed internet drove Comcast’s highest-ever net customer relationship additions, with 1.6 million adds.

“Yet, with over just 50 percent penetration of our footprint, there remains plenty of opportunity for future growth,” Roberts said.

[Related: Comcast Business Booms During COVID-19 Pandemic As Customers Demand More Broadband]

Comcast’s Cable Communications unit—which includes high-speed internet, voice, video, wireless and business services—saw a 6.3 percent bump up during fourth-quarter 2020. The segment generated revenue of $15.71 billion compared with $14.77 billion in the fourth quarter of 2019. High-speed internet posted a double-digit revenue climb of 12.7 percent to $5.40 billion, up from $4.79 billion a year ago.

Comcast’s Business segment continued to shine, pulling in $2.10 billion during the fourth quarter, up 4.8 percent from $2.00 billion during 2019’s fourth quarter. The company’s Business unit has historically been very successful in the small- to midsize-business space with its connectivity services. While many SMBs have been hard hit by the coronavirus pandemic, especially those in the hospitality space, Comcast said that growth in the SMB space is what drove its Business segment’s momentum during the fourth quarter.

For the past several years, Philadelphia-based Comcast has been working to expand its relationships with business customers through value-added services, such as Comcast Business WiFi Pro and SecurityEdge. The company had 26,000 net-new business customer additions during the most recent quarter, according to Michael Cavanagh, Comcast’s CFO.

Comcast’s wireless service, Xfinity Mobile, also shone brightly during the last fiscal quarter of the year. The segment grew 35.8 percent during the fourth quarter with revenue of $505 million as Comcast works to fully integrate mobile into its core cable operations. Roberts said that the company is “re-prioritizing its sales channels” around wireless. Comcast also expanded parts of its MVNO agreement with carrier competitor Verizon, which will allow Comcast to improve its range of offerings and acquire more mobile customers, he added.

The company’s NBCUniversal segment, which includes theme parks, continued to take the biggest hit due to COVID-19 with overall revenue declining year over year by 18.1 percent to $7.50 billion. Theme park revenue fell 62.9 percent, which the company attributed to park closures and capacity reductions. However, excluding Comcast’s not-yet-opened park, Universal Beijing, the theme park segment reached break-even, Roberts said.

Philadelphia-based Comcast debuted Peacock, its Netflix rival, in 2020. The video streaming service added 11 million subscribers during the fourth quarter and now has 33 million sign-ups across the U.S. to date, the company said.

For the quarter ended Dec. 31, Comcast reported revenue of $27.71 billion, a 2.4 percent decline compared with fourth-quarter 2019’s result of $28.40 billion. Net income in the quarter was $3.38 billion, a 6.9 percent bump up from last year’s fourth-quarter ending balance of $3.16 billion. The cable giant posted adjusted earnings per share of 56 cents, down 29.1 percent compared with 79 cents per share for the same quarter of 2019.

For the full 2020 year, Cable Communications revenue increased 3.4 percent to $60.05 billion compared with 2019. Business Services grew 5.1 percent to $8.19 billion. Comcast reported total revenue of $103.56 billion, a 4.9 percent decrease compared with 2019.