Cox Lights Up Wireless in the Sooner State

Cox Communications Inc. has launched wireless services in Oklahoma City and Tulsa, Okla., a move that comes about seven weeks after revealing the two cities as its next wireless targets.

They mark Cox's fourth and fifth wireless cities, following the initial launch last November in Hampton Roads, Va., Omaha, Neb., and Orange County, Calif. Like those launches, Cox's debuts in Oklahoma center on the company's "Unbelievably Fair" theme, packages that tie into the company's cable service bundles, and a lineup of Android- and BREW-powered phones, several "feature" phones and a standalone 3G modem.

Next in line for a wireless launch is Cox's New England region, which includes Rhode Island and systems the MSO serves in Connecticut, and Cleveland, Ohio.

Cox hasn't set a date for the New England launch, but noted that it intends to light up wireless services to additional markets that will cover more than 50 percent of its footprint. Other possible wireless launch candidates for 2011 include San Diego, Calif., Phoenix, Ariz., and New Orleans, La.

Cox, which is presently riding Sprint Corp. (NYSE: S)'s 3G network, has not said when it intends to deploy services on its own wireless network. "For now, it remains faster for us to get to market via our MVNO strategy," a Cox spokesman says.

Why this matters
The launch indicates that Cox is indeed moving forward on its ambitious wireless plan just weeks after Stephen Bye, the MSO's former VP of wireless, left to become vice president of technology development at Sprint.

Cox's expansion into wireless will also ensure that there's a fresh face in an industry that's looking to consolidate further with the proposed merger between AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) and T-Mobile US Inc. . Cox partner Sprint formally opposed the AT&T/T-Mobile deal on Monday. (See AT&T Could Drop 40% of T-Mobile, What Happens to Sprint After AT&T/T-Mobile Merger? and AT&T to Buy T-Mobile USA for $39B.)

Cox's success with wireless is difficult to gauge at this point, as the privately held company has yet to announce any subscriber figures. However, it's starting off by targeting customers who already take more than one service from the MSO.

The MSO also hasn't disclosed how much money has been funneled toward its wireless strategy beyond the US$550 million it spent on its Advanced Wireless Services (AWS) and 700MHz spectrum license, which are expected to play a key role in Cox's migration to Long Term Evolution (LTE).

For more
For more about Cox's wireless work so far, as well as some hubbub surrounding U.S. cable's apparent recent interest in LTE, check out:

— Jeff Baumgartner, Site Editor, Light Reading Cable

Jeff Baumgartner 12/5/2012 | 5:09:15 PM
re: Cox Lights Up Wireless in the Sooner State

With Oklahoma now on board, Cox isn't providing what % of its footprint has Cox Wireless today, but it's definitly still under half.  But the MSO did offer some additional clarification on when it expects to breach the 50% threshold as new wireless markets are rolled out -- by year end, we're told. JB


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