& 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
From The Founder
The independent evaluation of Nokia's key virtual network functions (VNFs) was a defining moment for the Finnish giant.
Flash Poll
Live Streaming Video
The Real-World View of Service Provider Innovation
Executives from Deutsch Telekom, Facebook, AT&T, Vodafone, and Masergy share insights from their company’s major transformation efforts and updates on key issues including open source, managed cloud connections and 5G.
LRTV Documentaries
Leading Lights 2016 Highlights

5|25|16   |   02:26   |   (0) comments


Some of the high points from this year's Leading Lights awards dinner at the Hotel Ella in Austin, Texas.
LRTV Documentaries
Light Reading Hall of Fame 2016

5|23|16   |   05:43   |   (0) comments


Find out who has been welcomed into Light Reading's Hall of Fame this year.
LRTV Custom TV
ZTE TM Forum Highlights

5|23|16   |     |   (0) comments


ZTE showcased its new ICT solutions at TM Forum in Nice.
LRTV Interviews
Gamma's MD on the Emergence of UC2

5|20|16   |     |   (0) comments


Gamma Communications Managing Director David Macfarlane believes the unified communications (UC) market has reached a tipping point.
LRTV Custom TV
The Ultimate 5-Minute Guide to Digital Customer Engagement

5|20|16   |     |   (0) comments


In this short video, you will hear all about how Digital Customer Engagement is the key to meeting customer expectations, keeping them happy, and maximizing revenue. VP Product & Marketing at Pontis, Ofer Razon, breaks down for us the five essential capabilities for successful Digital Customer Engagement. Don’t miss!
LRTV Custom TV
NFV in 2016: Part 1 – NFV Use Cases Get Real

5|19|16   |   05:57   |   (0) comments


Consensus is building around the key use cases for NFV, including managed IP services at the network edge and on customer premises, which can generate new revenues from enterprises/SMBs and consumers; Evolved Packet Core to support LTE migration; and adjacent technologies, such as TAS and IMS, to support VoLTE and next-generation charging and policy control ...
LRTV Custom TV
Nokia's Steve Vogelsang on NFV – Part 3

5|19|16   |     |   (0) comments


Steve Vogelsang discusses the challenges of operational transformation and how Nokia helps its customers. Join Steve at the Big Communications Event in Austin the morning of May 24, on his keynote and optical networking panel.
LRTV Interviews
Level 3: Why UC Is In Demand

5|17|16   |   04:12   |   (1) comment


Andrew Edison, Level 3's senior VP of sales, EMEA region, talks about the drivers of growth in the unified communications services market.
LRTV Custom TV
ARM's OPNFV Action

5|17|16   |     |   (0) comments


At the ARM booth at MWC 2016, Joe Kidder and Bob Monkman speak to Light Reading about OPNFV and their upcoming action.
LRTV Custom TV
Nokia's Steve Vogelsang on NFV – Part 2

5|16|16   |     |   (0) comments


Steve Vogelsang gives advice to service providers on how to move to NFV. Join Steve at the Big Communications Event in Austin the morning of May 24, on his keynote and optical networking panel.
LRTV Interviews
Interoute CTO on NFV's Maturity

5|13|16   |   06:46   |   (1) comment


Matt Finnie, CTO at international operator Interoute, explains how NFV has made life easier in terms of logistics and how Interoute can now enable a 'software-defined moment' for its customers.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
UBBS 2016 Highlights

5|12|16   |     |   (0) comments


Highlights of Huawei's UBBS event in Hong Kong.
Upcoming Live Events
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
WiCipedia: Short Skirts & Back-Up Plans
Eryn Leavens, Special Features & Copy Editor, 5/20/2016
AT&T to Start 5G 'Friendly' Trial by 2016 End
Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, 5/24/2016
Google Doubles Down on Machine Learning, AI
Mitch Wagner, West Coast Bureau Chief, Light Reading, 5/19/2016
Eurobites: Be More European, EU Tells Streaming Services
Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, 5/20/2016
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

Our world has evolved through innovation from the Industrial Revolution of the 1740s to the information age, and it is now entering the Fourth Industrial Revolution, driven by technology. Technology is driving a paradigm shift in the way digital solutions deliver a connected world, changing the way we live, communicate and provide solutions. It can have a powerful impact on how we tackle some of the world’s most pressing problems. In this radio show, Caroline Dowling, President of Communications Infrastructure & Enterprise Computing at Flex, will join Women in Comms Director Sarah Thomas to discuss the impact technology has on society and how it can be a game-changer across the globe; improving lives and creating a smarter world. Dowling, a Cork, Ireland, native and graduate of Harvard Business School's Advanced Management Program, will also discuss her experience managing an international team focused on innovation in an age of high-speed change.