Comcast, Time Warner Cable (TWC) and Cox Communications are done with Pivot; all three have acknowledged that they will offer current mobile phone subscribers the option to continue service directly with Sprint Nextel, which provided the service for the cable ops, or to cancel their subscriptions without penalty.
The move was almost inevitable after Sprint announced last year that it would not support the growth of Pivot beyond the small handful of markets already established by the participating MSOs.
Advance/Newhouse (Bright House Networks), the other operator that offered Pivot, is declining to comment.
The Pivot joint venture (JV) between cable and Sprint was announced in late 2005. The four MSO partners had been offering the service for about a year when Sprint decided it would not support expansion.
Cox has signaled its intention to build its own wireless network and offer its own mobile services by forming an organization called Cox Wireless, which had several winning bids in the recent auction for 700 MHz spectrum. Cox Wireless secured licenses covering several of its largest markets.
A Sprint spokesperson, explaining the final dissolution of the Pivot JV, told the Associated Press: “The driver was there were operational challenges that made it difficult to sell and bring products to market. It just wasn't a long-term solution.”
The spokesperson said that the company will continue working with the cable providers to find a way to sell wireless to their customers.
That could include some sort of participation in the WiMAX networks being built by Sprint and Clearwire, which together should provide national coverage. Last month, Comcast and TWC were reported to be in talks with Sprint and Clearwire (story here ).
More recently, Sprint CTO Barry West said that the rollout of the Sprint WiMAX network, called Xohm, will be delayed somewhat as the company arranges to handle backhaul capacity and solidifies its billing capabilities.
More Broadband Direct:
• Broadband Briefs for 4/24/08