Cox Confirms Wireless Ambitions - InformationWeek

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8/20/2008
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Cox Confirms Wireless Ambitions

The cable company said it will be using its share of the 700-MHz spectrum to offer mobile content and services.

Cox Communications will be upping the ante in its battle with telecom companies by entering the wireless market.

During the Progress and Freedom Foundation's annual tech policy summit, Cox president Patrick Esser said that the cable company would be using its share of the 700-MHz spectrum to offer mobile content and services.

"I won't divulge too many secrets here, but we'll focus on providing simple calling plans, integrating all our services into one device with a consistent cross-platform interface, and making our content and applications mobile," Esser said Tuesday.

The cable company spent more than $300 million during a 700-MHz spectrum auction in March, and Esser said Cox will invest a total of $500 million in wireless spectrum.

"Wireless is straight from our offensive playbook," Esser said. "It's an important innovation, a logical business evolution, and will maximize the immense power of Cox's greatest asset -- the last mile of robust broadband networks."

Earlier this year, Cox entered into an agreement with Sony Electronics and other cable companies to create a platform that allows customers to access cable content on devices other than a set-top box. The standard, known as tru2Way, will be used to deliver content on mobile devices, Esser said.

While Esser did not give many details or a timeframe for Cox's wireless ambitions, the move has the potential to have a major impact on the existing wireless carriers. It would allow Cox to offer consumers a one-stop shop for their Internet, home phone, cable TV, and mobile phone at a potentially attractive price.

As Cox further encroaches on their territory, look for the telecoms to push their own "quadruple play" services. AT&T's IP-based TV service, known as U-Verse, overcame a bumpy start, but it is steadily gaining subscribers. Verizon's FiOS service can also offer television over IP.

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