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January 13, 2010
Cox Communications Inc. will launch its ambitious wireless service in March, and the MSO will try to attract customers early on with an ad campaign that targets incumbents and claims Cox will offer "unbelievably fair wireless plans." (See Cox Promises 'Unbelievably Fair' Plans.)
Perhaps because it's all so "unbelievable," Cox hasn't said anything about its packaging and pricing plans, or what devices will support the MSO's wireless services. However, the company did reveal in December that it will start in three markets where it serves about 1.45 million cable subscribers combined: Hampton Roads, Va.; Omaha, Neb.; and Orange County, Calif. (See Cox Pivots Back Into Mobile Services .)
It hasn't said where and when the service will debut next (Rhode Island, Phoenix, San Diego, Las Vegas, and New Orleans are among the candidates), but it has confirmed that the initial launch will get a headstart by tapping into Sprint Corp. (NYSE: S)'s 3G CDMA network.
Cox is making a big bet on wireless, starting off with 3G and eventually bridging to Long Term Evolution (LTE). Cox is complementing the 3G coverage from Sprint with a build of its own mobile infrastructure using spectrum it won at auction. Many of Cox's MSO peers are instead hitching their wireless wagons to either WiMax or WiFi. (See Cox Wireless: Soup to Nuts , Starent at Core of Cox's 3G Push, Cox, Huawei Make Wireless Connection , Cox Adds Interop to Wireless Roster, SpectrumCo Gets Licenses , and Cox Waxes Wireless .)
Ahead of the launch, Cox has kicked off a Website at Unbelievablyfair.com that gives consumers the chance to register and be notified when services become available, and to win the chance to get a free on-demand movie for their troubles. Near the end of the brief opening animation, the site offers the message: "Cox Wireless, coming this March." [Ed. note: The site also shows off a smartphone emblazoned with the Cox logo. Can anyone identify it?]
Cox's teaser ads reveal a glimpse of the MSO's early acquisition strategy. Cox will apparently focus on what it found to be common complaints and "gotchas" consumers have with wireless service plans, including the loss of unused minutes and unforeseen wireless charges.
The ads show consumers venting their quibbles to folks manning a kiosk operated by a faux service provider called "Your Wireless." They're posted on YouTube, or you can see one here:
The ads suggest that Cox's wireless packages will focus on fixed fees, but without knowing prices, or how wireless might be bundled with Cox's other servcies, it may be a few more weeks before anyone can say if "unbelievably fair" rings true.
And if Cox needs some quirky music to help drive home that "unbelievable" message, we suspect EMF won't mind some help extending its status as an 80s-era one-hit-wonder.
— Jeff Baumgartner, Believable Site Editor, Cable Digital News
Senior Editor, Light Reading
Baumgartner also served as Site Editor for Light Reading Cable from 2007-2013. In between his two stints at Light Reading, he led tech coverage for Multichannel News and was a regular contributor to Broadcasting + Cable. Baumgartner was named to the 2018 class of the Cable TV Pioneers.
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