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Cablevision Gets Closer to Sprint

Jeff Baumgartner
8/25/2011

Cablevision Systems Corp. (NYSE: CVC) has found a mobile services partner in Sprint Corp. (NYSE: S), but the carrier will be working with Cablevision's small-business arm rather than its residential services group.

Cablevision will offer discounted wireless services from Sprint via Optimum Business, the unit that sells voice and data services to businesses with up to 100 employees. Sprint is joining Optimum Business Benefits, a customer loyalty program that also involves partners such as FedEx for shipping and ADP for discounted payroll help. Cablevision offers the program to customers who bundle its business voice and Internet services. (See Cablevision Beefs Up Biz Benefits.)

Under the Sprint deal, qualified Cablevision biz customers can apply to get up to a 15 percent discount on wireless and rebates on mobile devices.

Why this matters
The Sprint connection gives Cablevision the ability to spruce up its SMB portfolio with a discounted wireless services package.

But the deal may also fuel speculation that Sprint and Cablevision could be working on a broader mobile partnership. Cablevision's been hinting that it is developing a residential offering to be called Optimum Mobile that would support dual-mode devices that can operate on cellular networks and the MSO's Wi-Fi network.

In recent filings with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) , Cablevision has also implied that it's been in talks with T-Mobile US Inc. about a possible wholesale partnership, but AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T)'s proposed acquisition for T-Mobile could jeopardize that idea.

Cablevision, which appears partial to GSM technology, is urging the FCC to apply some conditions that would require AT&T to support wholesale partnerships and open its network so consumers could use any compatible mobile device on the carrier's cellular network.

Cablevision declined to comment on any Sprint matters outside the agreement with its Optimum Business unit.

For more
Read more about Cablevision's wireless ambitions.



— Jeff Baumgartner, Site Editor, Light Reading Cable

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