5G and Beyond

Cox to enter US wireless industry this fall

Cox Communications – one of the nation's largest cable companies – plans to launch mobile services this fall.

According to Mobile World Live, Cox plans to launch mobile services first in Hampton Roads, Virginia; Las Vegas, Nevada; and Omaha, Nebraska, with an advertising campaign planned for August. The company's Cox Mobile website promises that services are coming "very soon."

(Source: Kristoffer Tripplaar/Alamy Stock Photo)
(Source: Kristoffer Tripplaar/Alamy Stock Photo)

A Cox representative declined to answer questions from Light Reading about the operator's pricing plans. However, the Cox Mobile website suggests that users' speeds might be slowed after they consume 5GB, and that unused data doesn't roll over. The site also hints at a "Pay as you Gig" option. The offering will only be available to Cox's Internet customers.

It is unclear which mobile network Cox will use. "Contractual obligations limit the extent we can discuss our MNO [mobile network operator] partner," according to a Cox representative who spoke to Mobile World Live, noting that Cox will offer 4G and 5G services.

Fits and starts

Light Reading first reported on Cox's interest in mobile in 2020. The company later inked a mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) agreement with Verizon in January 2021 and planned to launch commercial mobile services by October of last year. But that plan was scuttled by T-Mobile, which argued that a prior agreement between Cox and Sprint (acquired by T-Mobile in 2020) essentially required Cox to use T-Mobile's network for its mobile service.

According to court filings, the monetary dispute between the parties was significant. Cox argued that it would save $90 million by selecting Verizon as its MVNO partner. T-Mobile argued that the difference was only around $24 million.

However, a Delaware Supreme Court ruling in March 2022 vacated the injunction against Cox's mobile launch that T-Mobile had sought. The ruling may have paved the way for Cox to launch its services.

Cox has a lengthy history in the wireless industry. The company built its own 3G CDMA wireless network using 700MHz spectrum and Huawei equipment in 2010. It also sold mobile services through a Sprint MVNO during that period. However, it shuttered the business in 2012.

With its launch this fall, Cox will join Comcast, Charter, Altice and WideOpenWest (WOW) in pairing cable services with mobile offerings.

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Mike Dano, Editorial Director, 5G & Mobile Strategies, Light Reading | @mikeddano

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