Comcast Strikes Wi-Fi Roaming Deal With Liberty for Travelers

Comcast Corp. customers will be able to use Liberty Global Plc’s Wi-Fi hotspots in Europe under an agreement to give subscribers a way to connect while traveling abroad.

Liberty users will also be able to access Comcast’s Wi-Fi networks in North America, the cable companies said today in a statement. The service is starting on a trial basis later this year and will be offered more widely in 2015, letting Comcast customers jump online in countries like Belgium, Ireland and Poland.

Comcast, based in Philadelphia, and Liberty, based in London, are extending their Wi-Fi networks to give users of phones and tablets a way to get online without eating into the alloted data on their wireless plans. Acknowledging the trend, Apple Inc. made its new iPhones capable of calling over Wi-Fi, and T-Mobile US Inc. is letting wireless customers make calls and text messages on Wi-Fi.

“This is our first step in bringing global Wi-Fi connectivity to our customers,” Tom Nagel, senior vice president of strategic initiatives for Comcast’s cable division, said in the statement.

The agreement represents further cooperation between Liberty Chairman John Malone and Comcast, who battled early this year over an acquisition of Time Warner Cable Inc. While Comcast won that bidding war against Malone-backed Charter Communications Inc., it later struck an agreement to sell portions of its subscriber base to Charter.

Malone, whose investments in cable span Europe and the U.S., has argued in favor of alliances in the industry to compete more effectively.

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