& cplSiteName &

Does Cable Have a Wireless Plan B?

Jeff Baumgartner
LR Cable News Analysis
Jeff Baumgartner
8/1/2011
50%
50%

If Clearwire LLC (Nasdaq: CLWR) doesn't pan out, what are the WiMax champion's cable partners -- Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK), Time Warner Cable Inc. (NYSE: TWC) and Bright House Networks -- going to do?

None have publicly discussed the idea of crafting a wireless plan B, but speculation that something is afoot has been swirling for weeks, with at least one of those partners, TW Cable, along with Cablevision Systems Corp. (NYSE: CVC) being linked to discussions with LightSquared . (See Cablevision Also Kicking LightSquared's Tires? and Rumor: TW Cable Talking With LightSquared.)

Another popular rumor has the MSOs with Advanced Wireless Services (AWS) holdings (Comcast, TW Cable, Cox Communications Inc. and Bright House) talking with Sprint about swapping some of that coveted spectrum for an equity stake and giving it a go from there. Sprint's not expected to offer more details about its 4G Network Vision strategy until Oct. 7. (See Cox: We're Not Selling Our Spectrum, Sprint's $13.5B Jump to LTE With LightSquared and What Will Sprint Reveal of its 4G Plans?)

"One thing they [the Clearwire MSO partners] have to do is make contingency plans ... in case Clearwire unravels," says Sanford C. Bernstein & Co. Inc. analyst Craig Moffett. Discussions about an equity-for-spectrum play could help "grease the skids" for a potential plan B, Moffett says, noting that it doesn't appear that any such deal appears to be imminent.

And he doesn't believe the cable guys are in a position to quickly pull the trigger on an strategy that involves LightSquared, which just inked network-sharing deal with Sprint but still faces regulatory uncertainty. (See Sprint's $13.5B Jump to LTE With LightSquared.)

Moffett says "it's all but inconceivable" that the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) will approve LightSquared's use of the lower L Band without further testing. LightSquared has expressed some hope it would gain FCC approval by mid-September.

"That sounds like wishful thinking," Moffett says, noting recent Federal Aviation Administration findings that GPS services will still face significant interference in the L-Band, despite LightSquared's revised plan. The situation "really ties the FCC's hands," the analyst adds. (See LightSquared Submits Plan to FCC and LightSquared Claims It Has Answer to GPS Problem.)

It's not LighSquared's fault that GPS receivers operate outside their allotted band, but that's the cards it's playing with. And it's that kind of uncertainty that could give cable pause.

That much was evident last week during TW Cable's second-quarter earnings call. MSO CEO Glenn Britt was noncommittal about what TW Cable might do with its AWS holdings, and isn't exactly pleased about WiMax subscriber growth, calling it "not terribly exciting." Comcast's next best chance to address its wireless future is Wednesday morning, when it reports second-quarter numbers. (See TW Cable Stays in Wireless Holding Pattern.)

Cablevision, meanwhile, has been enjoying success with its Wi-Fi deployment, but hints that it's considering other mobile strategies for voice and other types of mobile broadband services emerged even before the rumor spread that the MSO was in talks with LightSquared. (See Cablevision Trademarks Mobile, RS-DVR Brands.)

— Jeff Baumgartner, Site Editor, Light Reading Cable

(0)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View        ADD A COMMENT
Featured Video
From The Founder
The 'gleaming city on a hill,' Steve Saunders calls it. But who is going to take us from today's NFV componentry to the grand future of a self-driving network? Here's a look at the vendors hoping to make it happen.
Flash Poll
Upcoming Live Events
September 28, 2017, Denver, CO
October 18, 2017, Colorado Convention Center - Denver, CO
November 1, 2017, The Royal Garden Hotel
November 1, 2017, The Montcalm Marble Arch
November 2, 2017, 8 Northumberland Avenue, London, UK
November 10, 2017, The Westin Times Square, New York, NY
November 30, 2017, The Westin Times Square
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
Could the Connected Car Help Prevent Terrorism?
Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, 9/15/2017
Cities Slam FCC on Broadband Proceedings
Mari Silbey, Senior Editor, Cable/Video, 9/15/2017
Apple's New iPhones: No Gigabit LTE for You!
Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, 9/14/2017
1 Million Pirate Set-Top Boxes Sold in the UK
Aditya Kishore, Practice Leader, Video Transformation, Telco Transformation, 9/20/2017
Close the Loop to Automate Service Assurance
Carol Wilson, Editor-at-large, 9/14/2017
Animals with Phones
Live Digital Audio

Understanding the full experience of women in technology requires starting at the collegiate level (or sooner) and studying the technologies women are involved with, company cultures they're part of and personal experiences of individuals.

During this WiC radio show, we will talk with Nicole Engelbert, the director of Research & Analysis for Ovum Technology and a 23-year telecom industry veteran, about her experiences and perspectives on women in tech. Engelbert covers infrastructure, applications and industries for Ovum, but she is also involved in the research firm's higher education team and has helped colleges and universities globally leverage technology as a strategy for improving recruitment, retention and graduation performance.

She will share her unique insight into the collegiate level, where women pursuing engineering and STEM-related degrees is dwindling. Engelbert will also reveal new, original Ovum research on the topics of artificial intelligence, the Internet of Things, security and augmented reality, as well as discuss what each of those technologies might mean for women in our field. As always, we'll also leave plenty of time to answer all your questions live on the air and chat board.

Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed