& 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
Light Reading’s Upskill U is a FREE, interactive, online educational resource that delivers must-have education on themes that relate to the overall business transformation taking place in the communications industry.
NEXT COURSE
Wednesday, September 28, 1:00PM EDT
Gigabit 101
Will Barkis, Senior Technology Analyst, Orange
UPCOMING COURSE SCHEDULE
Friday, September 30, 1:00PM EDT
Gigabit & the Great Migration
Robert Howald, Vice President, Network Architecture, Comcast
Wednesday, October 5, 1:00PM EDT
Gigabit & Smart Cities
Joe Kochan, COO & Co-Founder, US Ignite
Friday, October 7, 1:00PM EDT
Gigabit & DOCSIS 3.1
Ty Pearman, Director, Access Architecture, Comcast
in association with:
From The Founder
Light Reading today starts a new voyage as part of a larger Enterprise.
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 Documentaries
MEC Congress: The Key Takeaways

9|22|16   |   03:25   |   (3) comments


Three key takeaways from the Mobile Edge Computing (MEC) Congress in Munich, Germany.
Wagner’s Ring
Time to Shut Up About 'Dumb Pipes'

9|22|16   |     |   (12) comments


Service providers can't compete with OTT players. It just isn't in their DNA. Instead, service providers need to embrace what they're good at -- providing reliable, secure connectivity.
Wagner’s Ring
Keeping Your Tech Career Going After 50

9|21|16   |     |   (13) comments


How do you keep your career moving forward when you're past the half-century mark?
LRTV Interviews
Peering Into the Digital Future

9|20|16   |   04:25   |   (0) comments


Nick Thomas, practice leader of digital media at Ovum, talks about how digital transformation in the technology, media and telecom sectors will enable the development of a new range of applications and services for enterprises and consumers and how the upcoming Digital Futures event in London will examine ...
LRTV Custom TV
Napatech Tackles NFV's Major Challenge

9|7|16   |   08:42   |   (0) comments


One of the main challenges for network operators introducing NFV is to combine performance and flexibility in a cost-effective way, but there is a solution, explains Napatech's Dan Joe Barry.
LRTV Custom TV
Huawei Optical Innovation 2016

9|6|16   |     |   (0) comments


Highlights of the 2016 Huawei Optical Innovation forum.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Are You Ready for Huawei Connect 2016?

8|31|16   |     |   (0) comments


Join us for an exclusive sneak peak of Huawei Connect, an integrated conference for the global ICT ecosystem taking place in Shanghai.
Between the CEOs
CEO Chat: UXP's Gemini Waghmare

8|26|16   |     |   (0) comments


Light Reading CEO Steve Saunders and UXP Systems CEO Gemini Waghmare discuss the strategic importance of digital identity for operators in the midst of transformation.
LRTV Custom TV
F5 Virtual Network Function Integrations With Partner Orchestration Platform

8|24|16   |   6:38   |   (0) comments


F5's Kishore Patnam, product manager for F5's service provider solutions, discusses why service providers are moving towards virtualization and how his clients are utilizing F5's solutions.
Between the CEOs
CEO Chat: Intel's Alexis Black Bjorlin

8|17|16   |   06:23   |   (0) comments


Join us for an in-depth interview between Steve Saunders of Light Reading and Alexis Black Bjorlin of Intel as they discuss the release of the company's Silicon Photonics platform, its performance, long-term prospects, customer expectations and much more.
Telecom Innovators Video Showcase
Accelerating Telecom Digital Transformation With Nominum DNS

8|1|16   |   12:04   |   (0) comments


Light Reading's Steve Saunders gets an update from Nominum CEO Gary Messiana on how his company is helping carriers on the digital transformation journey.
LRTV Custom TV
Reinventing Operations for a Virtual, Software-Defined World

7|28|16   |   5:23   |   (0) comments


Heavy Reading Senior Analyst Jim Hodges speaks with Accenture's Larry Socher and Matt Anderson about what service providers must do to transform their business to get the benefits of SDN and NFV including: leveraging DevOps, introducing real-time OSS and implementing analytics.
Upcoming Live Events
November 3, 2016, The Montcalm Marble Arch, London
November 30, 2016, The Westin Times Square, New York City
December 1, 2016, The Westin Times Square, New York, NY
December 6-8, 2016, The Westin Excelsior, Rome
May 16-17, 2017, Austin Convention Center, Austin, TX
All Upcoming Live Events
Infographics
Hot Topics
Keeping Your Tech Career Going After 50
Mitch Wagner, West Coast Bureau Chief, Light Reading, 9/21/2016
Time to Shut Up About 'Dumb Pipes'
Mitch Wagner, West Coast Bureau Chief, Light Reading, 9/22/2016
Comcast Will Go Wireless in 2017
Mari Silbey, Senior Editor, Cable/Video, 9/20/2016
Sprint CEO: We'll Lease Spectrum as Soon as Possible
Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, 9/20/2016
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
BETWEEN THE CEOs - Executive Interviews
Light Reading CEO Steve Saunders and UXP Systems CEO Gemini Waghmare discuss the strategic importance of digital identity for operators in the midst of transformation.
Join us for an in-depth interview between Steve Saunders of Light Reading and Alexis Black Bjorlin of Intel as they discuss the release of the company's Silicon Photonics platform, its performance, long-term prospects, customer expectations and much more.
Animals with Phones
You Thought Your Customer Service Was Unreliable... Click Here
Live Digital Audio

A vital part of increasing the number of women in comms is transforming the ways companies can support and empower women. While progressive company policies that support both men and women in achieving work-life balance are a step in the right direction, creating a company culture that supports those policies can at times be more challenging.

During this show, we'll talk to Lynn Comp, Senior Director of Industry and Sales Enabling (ISE) in the Network Platforms Group at Intel, about why those challenges exist and how companies can overcome them. She'll provide insight into how Intel has worked to create a culture that supports work-life balance, and provide steps and guidance for other companies wishing to do the same. We will also leave plenty of time to get your questions answered live on the air.