Cox Communications, the nation’s third-largest MSO, announced today that its wireless phone and mobile data services are available in three test markets: Hampton Roads, Va.; Omaha, Neb.; and Orange County, Calif.
Cox is targeting a test group of its customers in the initial trials before expanding the wireless service across all three markets next year. For now, Cox is offering its integrated wireless service to residential customers only, but in the future it will serve up a wireless business class offering through Cox Business.
With the launches, Cox laid claim to being the first U.S. cable company to launch fully integrated wireless phone and mobile data services.
“More than 40 percent of our residential customers trust us to be their telephone service provider, and two-thirds of our subscribers take all three of our existing services. Our customers have asked us to include wireless services as part of their bundle, and we’ve listened,” said Cox President Pat Esser. “We’re excited to let consumers know that they will soon have a better choice for wireless service. We’ve carefully considered the unmet needs of wireless customers, and we’ll be delivering a service that is uniquely Cox to address those needs.”
With these initial markets, a Cox spokesman said Cox was using Sprint’s 3G CDMA network and assets to get to market quicker “while managing every aspect of the service ourselves.” In parallel, Cox is still working on its own wireless network with 3G CDMA for additional market launches. Cox has previously said it would launch its own 3G wireless network sometime this year. Cox has also previously announced it’s testing 4G LTE technology.
Cox didn’t provide many details in today’s release in regard to pricing and the type of devices that will be used in the three markets, but it’s worth noting that the company signed a deal in August with Qualcomm to use Qualcomm’s Brew technology in its wireless service.
Cox said it would also be introducing a new retail experience in Hampton Roads, Omaha and Orange County and that it was increasing its commercial space presence significantly. Over time, the company estimated it would grow its workforce in these markets by about 20 percent throughout its retail locations.
To mark Cox’s entry into the wireless business, the cable operator said it’s donating new computer technology centers, valued at $25,000 each, to a local Boys & Girls Club in Hampton Roads, Omaha and Orange County. The local centers will include new computers, access to Cox high-speed Internet, and education about the safe and responsible use of digital technology.
As part of today’s announcement, Cox is also encouraging consumers to tell the company what they’d like to change in regard to their current wireless services by visiting a Website.
Cox was the first cable company to offer traditional landline telephone services in 1997 in Orange County. In September, Cox received the highest ratings in J.D. Power and Associates’ 2009 Residential Telephone Customer Satisfaction Study in the East and West regions.