Cox Launching Cell Phone Trials

Cox Communications announced it has started trialing its wireless offering in three markets (using Sprint Nextel's network) as part of a buildup to a larger wireless expansion scheduled for next year (that will use Cox's own spectrum and equipment from Huawei, Starent and others). Cox Communications has started trialing its wireless offering in three markets as part of a prelude to a larger wireless expansion scheduled for next year. The initial test markets are in Hampton Roads, Virginia, Omaha, Nebraska and Orange County, California.  Here are some sounds bites from the Fierce Wireless interview with Stephen Bye below.

Demand from Customers: Our customers are interested and have a need for wireless communications, and are certainly interested in buying that product form us. We've been very successful in selling voice, video and data into the home, and they have a need and an interest in buying wireless from us, so we see it as a component of the package and the service mix that we can offer to be a total communications provider. AT&T and Verizon have been aggressively pushing their U-verse and FiOS services but that is not a motivation for us.

Launch: We'll roll it out as we go and as we build in the successes that we have, we'll gradually roll it out into all of our markets, and expect it to be very successful. We generally do things on a market-by-market basis, and we're going to do the same thing with wireless as we've done with every other product.

Roaming: Like any other wireless provider, there's probably not a single wireless carrier out there that doesn't have a coverage model that's based on roaming.

Infrastructure to Leverage:  There's clearly infrastructure and capabilities that we can leverage and take advantage of to build upon to add that fourth product or any of those other products and services to the core.

Retail Distribution: You need to have the distribution to make that work.  In conjunction with rolling out wireless we're investing heavily in revamping and repositioning our retail distribution channel, not only to the benefit of our wireless business but to the benefit of the rest of our business.   

Product Launch:  The customer will be able to enjoy a nationwide experience and service. It's not going to be different from the experience they have with any other provider in the market today. We are going to have a national product focused on our existing customers and the product will work throughout the country

Sprint/Nextel Relationship In some markets we are taking advantage of their infrastructure, to get time to market, but we're also building out own network as well. We have roaming agreements with a number of providers, of which Sprint is one of them.

Spectrum: The networks that we own, the customer while they're on that network will be using a handset with an AWS radio. When they move and they happen to be roaming on someone else's network they'll use a different radio, but it will be transparent to the customer. Cox paid $304.6 million for 22 spectrum licenses covering areas in California, Virginia, Georgia, Florida, Louisiana, Arkansas and elsewhere as part of last year's 700 MHz spectrum auction--is leveraging Sprint Nextel's CDMA EV-DO network for these initial markets. e think the evolution towards LTE is the right answer for us. And we think there's a global ecosystem out there that's emerging to support that that will bring scale and unit cost that we can take advantage of. Plus, it puts us with the rest of the industry on path toward 4G.

Bundling: Two-thirds of our customers are buying at least two products from us, and almost a third of customers buying all three products. So that's our position in the market and we've been very successful in offering that suite of services to customers, and we expect wireless will be another component of that communications package.

Video Services:  The second motivation as we look at wireless is we're sort of at the beginning of the frontier on data and video services and non-voice services moving into the wireless space, and being able to take those services that the customer has within the home outside the home.

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