& 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
Download our complete guide to de-risking NFV deployment in 2016, including:
  • An eight-step strategy to deploying NFV safely, based on input from the companies that have already started virtualizing their production networks.
  • Interviews with leading executives at Colt, AT&T, Deutsche Telekom, Cisco, Nokia, ZTE, Ericsson and Heavy Reading.
  • Flash Poll
    Live Streaming Video
    Prepping for the Future: Upskill U Explained
    During this short kick-off video, Doug Webster, Vice President of Service Provider Marketing, Cisco, and Light Reading’s CEO & Founder Steve Saunders give an overview of Upskill U.
    LRTV Interviews
    AT&T Expert on the Key Pillars of UC

    4|29|16   |   03:58   |   (0) comments


    Vishy Gopalakrishnan, AVP of product marketing at AT&T, talks about the three developments that are making unified communications and collaboration secure and reliable for enterprise users.
    LRTV Documentaries
    LRTV Report: Mobile Core Innovation

    4|28|16   |   25:32   |   (0) comments


    Hear from multiple industry experts from Deutsche Telekom, SK Telecom, Heavy Reading, Huawei, Cisco, Ericsson, Nokia, NEC and many more about developments in the mobile core as operators virtualize their IMS and evolved packet core systems and prepare for a 5G world.
    LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
    NFV World Congress Highlight

    4|26|16   |     |   (0) comments


    The highlight of the NFV World Congress contains exciting telecom news. Join us for an inside look at Huawei's ICT 2020 plan and its latest collaboration with industry leaders.
    LRTV Interviews
    Unified Comms Finds Its Voice

    4|25|16   |   03:44   |   (0) comments


    Peter Quinlan, VP of UCC Product Management at Tata Communications, talks about the evolution of the unified communications and collaboration services sector and how voice is now a big part of current developments.
    LRTV Documentaries
    So... What Do We Do Now?

    4|25|16   |   03:24   |   (0) comments


    After a long hiatus, Max Dingman, the CEO of a GeeGhiz, returns for a motivational board room pep talk.
    LRTV Documentaries
    NAB 2016 Highlights

    4|21|16   |     |   (0) comments


    Light Reading's Cable/Video Practice Leader Alan Breznick climbs down from the slots to tell us about the latest news in broadcast technology at NAB 2016 in Las Vegas.
    Between the CEOs
    CEO Chat: Deepfield's Craig Labovitz

    4|21|16   |     |   (0) comments


    In this latest installment of the CEO Chat series, Craig Labovitz, co-founder and CEO of Deepfield, sits down with Light Reading's Steve Saunders in Light Reading's New York City office to discuss how Deepfield fits in with the big data trend and more.
    Shades of Ray
    Leading Lights 2016: Shortlists Announced

    4|20|16   |   0:53   |   (0) comments


    The judging is over and the Leading Lights 2016 shortlists have been published -- you can see who made the cut by clicking on this link.
    LRTV Custom TV
    Introducing MulteFire – Qualcomm at MWC 2016

    4|18|16   |   3.29   |   (0) comments


    MulteFire is the latest option for using LTE in unlicensed spectrum. As oppose to its close 'siblings', LAA and LTE-U, MulteFire operates solely in unlicensed spectrum, which enables it to offer the best of two worlds – LTE-like performance with WiFi-like deployment simplicity. In this interview, Sanjeev Athalye, Sr. Director, Product Management at Qualcomm ...
    Between the CEOs
    CEO Chat: Grant Van Rooyen of Cologix

    4|18|16   |     |   (0) comments


    Grant van Rooyen, president and CEO of Cologix, sits down with Steve Saunders, founder and CEO of Light Reading, in the vendor's New Jersey facility to offer an inside look at the company's success story and discuss the importance of security in the telecom industry.
    LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
    ONS 2016 – Demonstration of Huawei's NetMatrix Multi-Vendor SDN Orchestrator

    4|15|16   |     |   (0) comments


    This demonstration shows how Huawei's NetMatrix SDN Orchestrator (SDN-O) addresses an operator's core service agility needs for services spanning multi-domain, multivendor networks: it includes a demonstration of:
    - Rapid New Service Design: using YANG to model a complex example of multi-domain, multivendor L3VPN network connectivity service that ...
    LRTV Custom TV
    AT&T Wants to Own North Carolina

    4|15|16   |     |   (1) comment


    Venessa Harrison, president of North Carolina for AT&T, tells how the company will expand its GigaPower service beyond the seven N.C. cities it already serves.

  • This blog, sponsored by AT&T, is the second part of a ten-part series examining next-generation broadband technologies titled "Behind the Speeds."
  • Upcoming Live Events
    May 23, 2016, Austin, TX
    May 23, 2016, Austin Convention Center
    May 24-25, 2016, Austin Convention Center, Austin, TX
    September 13-14, 2016, The Curtis Hotel, Denver, CO
    December 6-8, 2016,
    June 16-18, 2017, Austin Convention Center, Austin, TX
    All Upcoming Live Events
    Infographics
    A new survey conducted by Heavy Reading and TM Forum shows that CSPs around the world see the move to digital operations as a necessary part of their overall virtualization strategies.
    Hot Topics
    Ultra-Broadband Summit, Hong Kong
    Iain Morris, News Editor, 4/27/2016
    WiCipedia: Woman Cards & Bitch Switches
    Sarah Thomas, Director, Women in Comms, 4/29/2016
    Mitel Asks: What Time of Day Do You Shower?
    Mitch Wagner, West Coast Bureau Chief, Light Reading, 4/25/2016
    GoT Fans Curse HBO (Not Right) Now
    Mari Silbey, Senior Editor, Cable/Video, 4/25/2016
    FCC Poised to Re-Regulate Wholesale Access
    Carol Wilson, Editor-at-large, 4/28/2016
    Like Us on Facebook
    Twitter Feed
    BETWEEN THE CEOs - Executive Interviews
    In this latest installment of the CEO Chat series, Craig Labovitz, co-founder and CEO of Deepfield, sits down with Light Reading's Steve Saunders in Light Reading's New York City office to discuss how Deepfield fits in with the big data trend and more.
    Grant van Rooyen, president and CEO of Cologix, sits down with Steve Saunders, founder and CEO of Light Reading, in the vendor's New Jersey facility to offer an inside look at the company's success story and discuss the importance of security in the telecom industry.
    Animals with Phones
    Live Digital Audio

    Of all the tech companies in the Valley, Intel has made the most aggressive commitment to building a diverse and inclusive workplace culture. It's doing so by taking concrete, measurable steps, making a large financial investment and through a commitment to complete transparency about its progress. In this radio show, WiC Director Sarah Thomas will be joined by Shlomit Weiss, Intel's Vice President, Data Center Group, and General Manager of Networking Engineering, who will share with us why Intel is tackling this huge challenge, how and to what effect. She will also discuss her unique experiences leading development of Client SOC development in the past and today leading development of all of the chipmaker's silicon hardware for networking IPs and discrete devices and managing a team of 600 engineers across Israel, Europe and the US.