Cable TV company Cox Communications reportedly is announcing today that it's building its own wireless facilities and will launch service next year, following through on intentions that Cox president Patrick Esser briefly discussed in a public speech over the summer. Cox acquired more than $300 million worth of 700 Mhz spectrum at auction earlier this year, and Esser earlier had said the company would spend more than $500 million on wireless spectrum.
Its current license covers existing Cox cable TV market areas around Atlanta, New Orleans, San Diego, Omaha, Neb., and Las Vegas, as well as much of Kansas and southern New Mexico, according to a report from the Associated Press. It will partner with Sprint on roaming outside of those markets.
Cox formerly operated wireless properties in California and Las Vegas, but sold them to Sprint in 1999. Cox and other cable firms later partnered with Sprint on a wireless joint venture, but the project fell apart within the last year. Other cable TV partners in that project, including Comcast, have since joined Sprint in the new Clearwire joint venture focused on WiMAX.
It is not yet clear how much more money Cox will need to invest to get its wireless networks up and running, or what business model the company plans to rely on, though it probably is safe to say it will bundle wireless with cable TV and other existing services. The company does have the advantage in its current cable markets of being able to use its own fiber network for mobile backhaul where applicable.
The Associated Press has this report
Esser discussed Cox's wireless ambitions in August
Cox was one of the major players at the 700 Mhz auction