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Cox not interested in buying T-Mobile

Thu, 08/21/2014 - 1:11pm
Brian Santo

Cox Communications president Pat Esser yesterday was compelled to squash the rumor that Cox is considering buying T-Mobile.

Speculators on Wall Street, eager for deals to move the market and frustrated by the collapse of talks between Sprint and T-Mobile, have been toying with the names of other companies who might step in and buy T-Mobile.

With most major carriers now ruled out, who’s left? Cable and satellite communications companies. And who has the wherewithal and isn’t already in the midst of a larger merger proposition? Well, there’s Cox Communications, and then there’s… Cox Communications. And, um…

So the rumor was floated to see if Cox would bite. And it didn’t.

"We're not in any discussions to buy T-Mobile," Esser told Reuters. "I don't see a movement inside of our company that we feel like we have to pony up or match up with a wireless company." Nor is Cox interested in buying another cable company at the moment, he said.

A Cox / T-Mobile combination would seem to make some intuitive sense. Cable companies do not have a cellular product for their bundles. And even though the largest MSOs have developed a lot of enthusiasm for public Wi-Fi networks, it is simply not possible to create a coverage map with a Wi-Fi network that will look like anything but a patchwork. A Wi-Fi patchwork might ultimately prove adequate, but that hasn't been proven yet.

So until it is (or isn't), cellular will continue to look like a valuable service to add to the cable bundle, and that’s how we get to the Cox / T-Mobile rumor.

It won’t be the last time a cable company and a wireless carrier will be urged to merge.

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