D3 Revs Up for Retail
Zoom Telephonics , as expected, entered the D3 retail fray today by announcing it has started high-volume shipments of a modem that's tagged for the shelves of Best Buy, Micro Center, and Staples. (See Zoom D3 Modem Goes Retail.)
A Zoom model (5341) that can bond four downstream channels and four upstream channels got retail clearance in March following certification from CableLabs . Zoom says it begged off taking the device retail until after it received certifications from Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK) and Cox Communications Inc. It already had the technical go-ahead in Charter Communications Inc. markets.
Zoom isn't saying how much the modem, which uses Texas Instruments Inc. (NYSE: TXN) silicon, will sell for, but the company told Light Reading Cable earlier this year that the device would likely go for less than $100 per unit. Today's announcement indicates that Zoom's D3 retail plan is ahead of schedule. Earlier this year, it indicated that shipments would begin by late August. (See Zoom Grooms D3 Modem for Retail.)
Zoom will be battling at retail with Motorola Inc. (NYSE: MOT), which started off by selling its SB6120 SURFboard D3 modem (another 4x4 model) for $99.97, though frugal consumers can buy it for almost $15 less if they poke around for deals.
Motorola has since started selling the SBG6580 D3 gateway at Best Buy. That fancier device, which includes built-in 802.11n, a GigE four-port switch, and a firewall, sells for $149.99. A Moto official confirmed earlier that it also supports a beefy, eight-channel downstream, evidently a first for a D3 device that's tagged for retail.
The vast majority of cable high-speed subs lease modems from MSOs, but the few that take the retail route pay a premium upfront, but try to get a return by avoiding monthly lease fees.
— Jeff Baumgartner, Site Editor, Light Reading Cable