Cox Communications fired a shot across the telcos’ bow when it announced today that it plans to have its own cellular network live by next year.
Cox spent $550 million in the Federal Communications Commission’s wireless auction in order to win licenses to build its own wireless network. Cox said it would use Sprint Nextel’s nationwide network to quickly enter the market next year, an arrangement that could also let it provide roaming calls outside of its own network.
At the same time, Cox is building its own 3G wireless network for additional market launches in 2009. Atlanta-based Cox said it will also test 4G technology using long term evolution (LTE).
“Wireless service will be a key driver to Cox’s future growth,” said Pat Esser, president of Cox. “As wireless communications enters the new generation, we are uniquely positioned to deliver the entertainment and communications services our customers want, whenever, however and wherever they want them. Our bundled customers will become even ‘stickier’ as we offer them the best customer experience.
“To deliver the best customer experience, we will manage every aspect of the service, from product development, to marketing and sales, to back-office operations and customer support and billing.”
In anticipation of its wireless plans, earlier this year Cox joined CTIA – which is the international association for the wireless telecommunications industry – the Rural Cellular Association and the CDMA Development Group (CDG).
Privately held Cox was one of the cable companies that were part of the joint venture with Sprint Nextel that allowed cable operators to offer a wireless service as part of their bundles, but that partnership ended last year.
Cox’s national footprint includes New Orleans, Las Vegas, San Diego, and parts of Los Angeles and Orange counties. The company’s wireless licenses include San Diego, New Orleans, Atlanta, Las Vegas and Omaha, Neb., as well as parts of Kansas and southern New Mexico where Cox is also deployed.
Cox first launched a circuit-switched telephone service in 1997 and over the years has won numerous awards in J.D Power and Associates’ Customer Satisfaction studies for telephone, video, high-speed Internet and commercial data.
Cox is the nation’s third-largest cable operator with 6.2 million residential and commercial customers.
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