In a bid to fend off telecoms like AT&T and Verizon, Cox Communications has launched its own wireless services in a few test markets.
The cable company is using its portion of the 700-MHz spectrum it won in an FCC auction to provide the service, and Huawei Technologies will be building out its CDMA network. Customers in Hampton Roads, Va., Omaha, Neb., and Orange Country, Calif., can sign up now, and a roaming agreement with Sprint Nextel means subscribers will have cellular service outside of Cox markets. The company hasn't introduced handsets yet, but it will be using Qualcomm's Brew platform to deliver content to its handsets.
The move will eventually enable Cox to offer the so-called quadruple play, which means customers are buying their home phone, Internet, cable, and mobile phone service from a single provider. The company's mobile service will initially include voice, but Cox plans to offer mobile data and mobile video in the future. This is expected to also eventually include tie-ins to Cox digital video recorders on the go.
Telecoms are increasingly encroaching on cable companies' turf, as AT&T and Verizon can also offer quadruple plays in certain markets with the U-Verse and FiOS services. Cable companies have long sought to add mobile capabilities, but previous efforts like Pivot have failed.
Other cable providers are also looking for mobile options, but Comcast and Time Warner do not appear to want to build out their own mobile networks. These companies will likely resell Clearwire's WiMax for mobile data services.