& cplSiteName &

What's Next for Cox Wireless?

Jeff Baumgartner
LR Cable News Analysis
Jeff Baumgartner
3/1/2011
50%
50%

Will Cox Communications Inc. suck it up and remain in the wireless business for the long haul? Will the MSO cut its losses and sell off its valuable wireless spectrum to a capacity-starved carrier? Or, will Sprint Corp. (NYSE: S) step in and simply buy the nation's third-largest incumbent MSO, giving it a coveted wireline broadband, video and cell backhaul play?

Cox insists that wireless remains crucial to its overall strategy, but those are just some of the questions and speculation swirling about amid word that Stephen Bye, Cox's VP of wireless, has left the company and is about to join Sprint, one of the MSO's key wireless partners.

Bye, a Sprint spokeswoman confirmed via e-mail, is joining Sprint on March 14 as vice president–technology development.

While the new Sprint gig offers a fresh opportunity for Bye, the move would seemingly come at a less-than-opportune time for Cox. The MSO, which has spent hundreds of millions of dollars on its wireless bet so far, is just starting to get its mobile voice and data services off the ground following a seven-month delay. It's currently available in Hampton Roads, Va.; Omaha, Neb.; and Orange County, Calif., with Oklahoma City and Tulsa on deck. A recent local report indicates that Cox may turn up wireless in San Diego by mid-2011 or 2012. (See Cox to Flip Wireless Switch in Oklahoma and Cox Wireless Is Go for Launch.)

Cox is already moving to fill the wireless leadership vacuum left by Bye, telling Light Reading Cable that Len Barlik, Cox's EVP of product development and management (who is late of Sprint), is taking over Bye's duties on an interim basis as the company seeks a permanent replacement. (See Sprint Exec Joins Cox.)

"We appreciate Stephen's contributions to the successful launch of our wireless business," a Cox official says in an e-mailed response to questions. "We are thankful for the dedication and operational excellence of our wireless team as we deliver on our commitment to launching additional markets and enhancing the Cox customer experience."

An industry source familiar with the situation at Cox tells a slightly different story, noting that several Cox Wireless employees are currently searching for jobs amid fears that the MSO is contemplating the long-term future of its wireless business and whether it will invest in additional markets.

"The writing on the wall is to get out before you are forced out," the source said.

The MSO, however, says the plan remains the same. "Cox certainly remains committed to launching additional wireless markets," a spokesman adds, referencing the upcoming Oklahoma launch and that "we'll have more news to share about future market launches soon."

By U.S. cable standards, Cox's wireless plan is the most ambitious. It's starting off by leasing access on Sprint's 3G network, but it's also building its own wireless network, with plans to tap into the 700MHz and Advanced Wireless Services (AWS) spectrum it won at auction and eventually migrate to Long Term Evolution (LTE). (See Cox Wireless: Soup to Nuts .)

Cox says it has reached "several milestones" regarding its wireless network build, but has yet to say when it intends to activate it for wireless service.

Exec moves and Sprint-Cox connections
Bye's departure follows other big changes at the top of Cox. The MSO confirmed that SVP of Program Management Mimi Thigpen is no longer with the company, but did not elaborate on the reason, though a source said her departure partly stems from Cox's frustration with the pace of its wireless strategy. Last month, former Cox EVP and Chief Strategy Officer Dallas Clement left to become CFO of AutoTrader, which is majority-owned by Cox Enterprises. (See Cox Cable Exec Heads to AutoTrader.com.)

Among other big moves, Cox CTO Scott Hatfield resigned last year due to "personal reasons." Cox is still seeking a full-time replacement for him, but Don Hallacy, yet another former Sprint exec, is currently serving as interim CTO. Cox CFO Mark Bowser also hails from Sprint. (See Cox CTO Resigns , Cox Hires Interim CTO and Sprint Exec Joins Cox.)

All of this cross-pollination between companies is causing some in the industry to speculate if they'll just tie the knot, with Sprint playing the buyer.

In the meantime, Sprint's interest in cable continues on and the value it places on wired connectivity is becoming increasingly apparent. Another industry source says Sprint has recently issued a request for information (RFI) for cell backhaul, and Cox, Charter Communications Inc. , Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK) and Time Warner Cable Inc. (NYSE: TWC) are among the major MSOs that have responded.

— Jeff Baumgartner, Site Editor, Light Reading Cable

(4)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View        ADD A COMMENT
JeffMoore99
50%
50%
JeffMoore99,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 5:11:25 PM
re: What's Next for Cox Wireless?


Coffeebydesign, you need to keep up with the news.  Sprint did get poor customer service ratings for a couple of years, but the January 2011 issue of Consumer Reports had Sprint in a virtual tie with Verizon for having the BEST customer service.  Consumer Reports also indicated that AT&T had the worst customer service by a large margin.  AT&T has come in last for the past two years.

Jeff Baumgartner
50%
50%
Jeff Baumgartner,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 5:11:25 PM
re: What's Next for Cox Wireless?


Couple of things to clarify:  Mimi Thigpen was promoted to SVP of Strategy in 2008, but she was serving as SVP of Program Management when she departed the company. Also, Phil Meeks didn't hail from Sprint, but was a 20-year MCI vet before joining Cox.  Those changes are reflected in the story. JB




Jeff Baumgartner
50%
50%
Jeff Baumgartner,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 5:11:25 PM
re: What's Next for Cox Wireless?


Thanks, good to hear from someone who signed up for Cox wireless. it's my understanding that Cox is handling pretty much all the customer-facing functions for the wireless service, so what's been your experience with it so far and how has that matched up with your prior experience with VZ?  JB

coffeebydesign
50%
50%
coffeebydesign,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 5:11:25 PM
re: What's Next for Cox Wireless?


I joined Cox Communications Wireless service, and the one concern I had, that would have prevented me from joining their service was whether or not Cox Communications Wireless would be handling customer service, or whetherS Sprint would be handling customer service, considering the Cox network utilizes the Sprint towers. I think its a rather well known fact that Sprint has by far, the worst customer service in the industry, and should they take over those duties, I will be paying the early cancellation fee and switching back to Verizon. I like the services that Cox offers, and that the services are bundled with my television and internet, and the wireless plans were comparably, if not better priced, so I chose to leave Verizon after 10 years of service with them. While I think Verizon has always had stellar customer service, Cox communications has always outshined them in my opinion, and there aren't any other companies that I would have left Verizon for. That is my two cents, and if I ever look in the sky and see nothing but black clouds, I'll know that Sprint has taken over Cox, and it'll be time to cancel service.

From The Founder
Either we perform a complete 'factory reset' on the way the telecom industry creates and deploys virtualization, or we face the consequences.
Flash Poll
Live Streaming Video
Charting the CSP's Future
Six different communications service providers join to debate their visions of the future CSP, following a landmark presentation from AT&T on its massive virtualization efforts and a look back on where the telecom industry has been and where it's going from two industry veterans.
LRTV Custom TV
The Urgency of Commercial 5G Services

4|26|17   |     |   (0) comments


The progress of 5G has been closely monitored in the industry. At the 2017 Brooklyn 5G Summit, the sense of urgency for a commercial 5G launch had started to surface among operators.
Women in Comms Introduction Videos
How Diversity Helps Comcast Mirror Its Customer Base

4|26|17   |   2:55   |   (0) comments


Diversity brings innovation, creative ideas and a way to reflect the broad spectrum of your customer base, Comcast Director of Customer Experience Jenelle Champlin says.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Mobile Operators & Video

4|25|17   |     |   (0) comments


Ovum's Ed Barton discusses the latest mobile operator strategies for mobile video.
LRTV Custom TV
Infinera Introduces Instant Network

4|20|17   |     |   (1) comment


Mike Capuano, vice president of marketing at Infinera, discusses the advancement from Instant Bandwidth to new Instant Network capabilities, which include Bandwidth License Pools, Moveable Licenses and Automated Capacity Engineering (ACE).
Women in Comms Introduction Videos
Vodafone's Eubank on Sponsors, Mentors & Moving On Up

4|19|17   |   4:25   |   (0) comments


Vodafone America's Head of Operations Kimberly Eubank breaks down the difference between a sponsor and a mentor and shares why both made a big difference in her career.
LRTV Custom TV
NYC Auto Show: Are We Smart Yet?

4|18|17   |     |   (0) comments


The auto industry is facing some big transformations as electric vehicles, autonomous technology and connected cars are seen as the future of the industry. During the much-anticipated NY international auto show, there was an emergence of new technology and mobility service on the show floor. Aside from performance, brands like Lincoln, Hyundai, Honda, Mercedes and ...
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
The Impact of Video

4|18|17   |     |   (0) comments


David Mercer from Strategy Analytics discusses the impact of video on current strategies.
LRTV Custom TV
Pardeep Kohli Discusses Network Transformation & the Market Opportunity for the 'New' Mavenir Systems

4|13|17   |     |   (0) comments


In a brief discussion at MWC 2017, Heavy Reading analyst Adi Kishore talks to Pardeep Kohli, CEO, Mavenir Systems about the creation of the 'new Mavenir' and some of the key challenges facing operators in today's market. A key theme of the discussion centers around operator need for software-only, virtualized solutions and how they will need to adapt to ...
Women in Comms Introduction Videos
Tech Maverick Shares Her Tips for Gender Inclusivity

4|12|17   |   7:28   |   (0) comments


Wendy Hall Bohling, a corporate escapee, author and gender exclusivity consultant, tells her story of sexism, bias and progress along the road to gender equality in the workforce.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Huawei at MWC 2017

4|11|17   |     |   (0) comments


At Mobile World Congress 2017, the biggest mobile industry gathering of the year, Huawei showcased its new innovations and solutions with the theme "Open Road," which focuses on cloud, 5G, operation transformation, videos and consumer-oriented products. Its campaign has been recognized by three awards given by GSMA.
LRTV Custom TV
China Telecom NFV Infrastructure on RSD

4|6|17   |     |   (0) comments


Lynn Comp, senior director of market development of Intel, is joined by Chong Zhang, storage engineer at Inspur and Ou Li Yan, architect for technology strategies of China Telecom, for a discussion of what NFV brings.
LRTV Custom TV
Nokia's IMPACT Software Demo

4|6|17   |     |   (0) comments


Khamis Abulgubein of IoT market development at Nokia demonstrates IMPACT (intelligent management platform for all connected things), a software solution with a horizontal approach to managing any device on any application.
Upcoming Live Events
May 15-17, 2017, Austin Convention Center, Austin, TX
May 15, 2017, Brazos Hall - Austin, TX
May 15, 2017, Austin Convention Center - Austin, TX
June 6, 2017, The Joule Hotel, Dallas, TX
All Upcoming Live Events
Infographics
With the mobile ecosystem becoming increasingly vulnerable to security threats, AdaptiveMobile has laid out some of the key considerations for the wireless community.
Hot Topics
Surprise! AT&T Markets 4G Advances as '5G Evolution'
Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, 4/25/2017
Did Verizon Outbid AT&T for Straight Path?
Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, 4/25/2017
First Year TIPs the Scale Toward Success
Denise Culver, 4/24/2017
Ericsson's Q1 Even Worse Than Feared
Iain Morris, News Editor, 4/25/2017
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
BETWEEN THE CEOs - Executive Interviews
One of the nice bits of my job (other than the teeny tiny salary, obviously) is that I get to pick and choose who I interview for this slot on the Light Reading home ...
TEOCO Founder and CEO Atul Jain talks to Light Reading Founder and CEO Steve Saunders about the challenges around cost control and service monetization in the mobile and IoT sectors.
Live Digital Audio

Playing it safe can only get you so far. Sometimes the biggest bets have the biggest payouts, and that is true in your career as well. For this radio show, Caroline Chan, general manager of the 5G Infrastructure Division of the Network Platform Group at Intel, will share her own personal story of how she successfully took big bets to build a successful career, as well as offer advice on how you can do the same. We’ll cover everything from how to overcome fear and manage risk, how to be prepared for where technology is going in the future and how to structure your career in a way to ensure you keep progressing. Chan, a seasoned telecom veteran and effective risk taker herself, will also leave plenty of time to answer all your questions live on the air.