Cox Communications Inc., which counts more than 1 million residential circuit-switched phone customers in a dozen markets, launched IP phone service in its second market, Tulsa Okla. Cox is already offering IP phone service using PacketCable technology in Roanoke, Va. The MSO said it will launch IP phone in three more markets by year's end: Baton Rouge, La., West Texas and Southwest Louisiana.
In switched voice, Cox executives say they are following a 'cap and grow' strategy.
In its largest markets where it is already offering switched voice Ð like Phoenix, Ariz., San Diego and Orange Couty, Calif., and Omaha, Neb. Ð the company is continuing to sign up switched phone customers until the switched phone capacity they have already installed is fully utilized. Cox has not revealed any plans to begin offering IP phone services in its existing switched markets anytime soon. Initially, Cox is only using IP technology as a means to begin offering voice services in its smaller markets which do not offer the scale to make a switched voice service deployment economically efficient.
In all markets, Cox is marketing its voice service as Cox Digital Phone, with essentially the same features and pricing, regardless of whether circuit or packet technology is used. It is the right move, as consumers aren't buying voice service based on the underlying technology, rather its features, pricing and reliability.