blind_html [Fwd: Cox Cable Plans to Launch a Cellular Network]

  • From: Nimer <nimerjaber1@xxxxxxxxx>
  • To: blind_html@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Thu, 09 Apr 2009 09:17:14 -0600

-------- Original Message --------
Subject:        Cox Cable Plans to Launch a Cellular Network
Date:   Thu, 9 Apr 2009 01:48:36 -0000
From:   Ray T. Mahorney <coffee-craver@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Reply-To:       Blind-chit-chat@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
To:     <blind-chit-chat@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>

APRIL 7, 2009, 8:44 P.M. ET

Cox Plans to Launch a Cellular Network
Unlike Cable Rivals, Atlanta Company Sees Need to Own a Wireless System

Wall Street Journal <>

Cox Communications Inc. will have the tough job of trying to
differentiate itself from competitors as the cable operator prepares to
start a wireless service this year in an already crowded U.S. market.

The Atlanta-based operator is building its own cellular network, a
strategy that contrasts sharply with that of its peers. Comcast Corp.
and Time Warner Cable Inc. are among a group backing wireless start-up
Clearwire Corp., but are still ambivalent about how aggressively to push
into cellphone service themselves.

"Wireless is a conundrum for the cable industry in how we take that
first step," Comcast Chief Executive Brian Roberts said at an industry
event last week.

Cox decided to strike out on its own after a failed attempt to offer
cellphone service along with Comcast, Time Warner and other cable
providers through a partnership with wireless carrier Sprint Nextel
Corp. That joint venture, called Pivot, dissolved last year when the
companies couldn't agree on pricing and marketing strategy, according to
people familiar with the matter.

Stephen Bye, vice president of wireless at Cox, declined to say how much
Cox has spent to build its wireless service, but said the closely held
company won't slow down its wireless plans during the recession.

Romeo Reyes, a telecom analyst at Jefferies & Co., estimates Cox would
need to invest about $300 million before breaking even on an operating
basis. The company declined to comment on those projections.

Mr. Bye said providing cellphone service will allow Cox to offer a
bundle of TV, broadband and wireless service. Beyond that, Mr. Bye said
he hopes the company can use its TV experience to exploit the nascent
mobile video market. Only about 4.5% of U.S. cellphone users watch video
on the small screen, generally in the form of two-minute streaming
clips, according to comScore Inc. Mr. Bye said that market is poised to
grow as smart phones get more advanced.

Skeptics said that may be wishful thinking. Mark Donovan, a mobile
analyst at comScore, questioned whether mobile video will ever gain
significant traction in the U.S. market. "Video alone isn't any kind of
key differentiator" as Cox seeks to attract wireless subscribers, he said.

Mr. Bye said Cox is also considering a mobile-software store along the
lines of Apple Inc.'s store for the iPhone and similar initiatives
launched by Google Inc. and others. "We don't want to be at a
comparative disadvantage with what's already out there," Mr. Bye said.
Cox is working with a vendor, mPortal Inc., to develop the application
store, according to a person familiar with the matter.

With six million subscribers, Cox is the third-largest cable operator in
the U.S., offering service mainly in the South and Southwest. Cox plans
to offer cellphone service as well as wireless broadband access for
laptops in its home markets. It will use roaming deals with national
wireless providers so users can get service elsewhere.

Cox declined to provide specific revenue or customer projections for its
wireless business. Mr. Reyes, of Jefferies, said small cellphone
companies like MetroPCS Communications Inc. and Leap Wireless
International Ltd. have achieved market penetration of anywhere from 8%
to 13% in the areas where they've been offering service for at least
five years.

Mr. Bye said the company will offer monthly cellphone-service contracts
and prepaid phones, to Cox TV customers and non-TV customers, but
declined to discuss pricing. Cox's network will use its portion of the
$2.4 billion in radio spectrum it purchased alongside other cable
companies in 2006.

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