Comcast Corp., the biggest U.S. cable carrier, will let home-phone customers make calls using iPads, smartphones and other mobile devices anywhere they have Internet access, intensifying competition with wireless carriers.
Using a Comcast application, customers can make calls from those devices when they’re connected to the Web via a Wi-Fi hot spot or a wireless data plan, Philadelphia-based Comcast said Tuesday. There is no extra charge for the calls.
Comcast, which provides TV, land-line phone and Internet service, is expanding beyond the home to fend off phone companies such as Verizon Communications Inc., AT&T Inc., and Overland Park-based Sprint, which are offering broadband and wireless-Internet service that could replace the need for a cable subscription.
The new Comcast feature, called Voice 2go, will allow customers to use free Wi-Fi networks in parks and cafes or a wireless-data connection from a phone company to make calls. The service competes against wireless carriers’ voice plans, which typically start at $39.99 a month, as well as Internet-calling services such as Skype.
Monday, Comcast said it is teaming up with other large U.S. cable companies to create a nationwide network of more than 50,000 Wi-Fi hot spots.