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Britt: Consumer is center of cable's interest in wireless

Thu, 04/06/2006 - 8:18am
CED staff

Glenn Britt's stranger in a strange land tour continued Wednesday at the CTIA show in Las Vegas, as the Time Warner Cable CEO explained why the second-largest cable operator in the country is applying so much attention to wireless services.

Britt's keynote appearance this week at the wireless-focused confab marked his second at a gathering where cable presence might be considered a rarity. Last month, Britt delivered a keynote at the TelecomNEXT show, which also took place in Las Vegas.

At CTIA, Britt shed more light on Time Warner's motivation for wireless services, an area it is entering via a joint venture with Sprint Nextel. Other MSOs involved with the JV so far include Comcast Cable, Cox Communications and Advance/Newhouse. 

"The consumer is the reason cable is focused on wireless," Britt said, according to a transcript supplied by Time Warner Cable.

The consumer, not content, is "really the 'King'," he said. "We're in the business of using technology to meet consumer needs. We are not in the business of building and operating cable networks. In this context, it is natural for us to be interested in wireless. But for me, the mutual attraction of the wireless and cable industries lies in our ability to use these two platforms together to offer attractive new products and services."

Initially, he noted, wireless will give cable access to the coveted quad-play.

"But from my point of view, simply adding cell phone service to our bundle is probably not all that interesting for consumers," Britt said. "The real promise of wireless for me is the capacity to offer a host of innovative new services that can tie into the video, data and phone products that we and Sprint-Nextel already offer."

Britt said "early marketplace trials" with Sprint should begin later this year.

He also outlined some apps that are under examination, including remote DVR programming, unified messaging, central address book and calendar management, and multiplayer gaming.

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