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Cox is entering the Mobile Market using Sprint Nextel partnership May 16, 2010

Posted by TelUS Consulting Services in Uncategorized.

Cox Communications Inc. is set to become the first U.S. cable company to offer wireless service to consumers and businesses as it looks to bundle mobile-phone calls on the same bill as Web, TV and landline phone service.

Cox will start its consumer mobile service in three markets — Orange County, California; Omaha, Nebraska; and Hampton Roads, Virginia — in the next two to three months, President Pat Esser said in an interview. Cox Business’s wireless plans will also be rolled out first in those markets.

The third-biggest U.S. cable operator is challenging phone carriers AT&T Inc. and Verizon Communications Inc., which are expanding onto cable companies’ turf with TV services. Cox has kicked off a teaser advertising campaign called “Unbelievably Fair” for its offering, said Esser. About 24 percent of Cox’s customers said they’d be willing to switch to its mobile offering, he said.

Cox has taken a different wireless approach than its larger peers Comcast Corp. and Time Warner Cable Inc., which are using Clearwire Corp.’s so-called 4G network to sell only data offerings in select markets. Cox will use Sprint Nextel Corp.’s so-called 3G network for its wireless service, and also is building its own network, Esser said.

The company wouldn’t disclose when its mobile-phone service will be available to its entire footprint.

Cox plans to upgrade its network to long-term evolution 4G technology, with trials already going on in Phoenix and San Diego, Esser said. The company has signed on several handset providers, without disclosing names.

The cable operator plans to integrate its wireless service in a bundle and plans marketing efforts to persuade customers to switch providers. For example, customers who sign onto a website to learn more about its wireless offerings may receive a free on-demand movie.

Cox is closely held and based in Atlanta. The company has no immediate plans to go public. Cox i presently using its free cash flow to pay down debt and make investments.

It appears that the cable operators are getting ready to take on the big boys. Will this be the final nail in the coffin for the fledgling CLEC industry, or will the competitive distraction be enough to give the CLEC’s a ray of hope. Time will tell, but right now my money is on the cable boys…with improved QOS and service offerings and an ability to dominate the home market, I see their entry into the quad play market as a serious threat to the CLEC’s, and a market gainer on the big boys.

Joe Buck, N.C.E.

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