Cox Adds Wireless Pair

5:45 PM -- Evidently, Cox Communications Inc. was serious when it said its wireless group would not be touched amid a plan to cut 460 jobs, or 2 percent of its total workforce, by the first quarter of 2009. (See Cox to Cut 460 Jobs.)

In fact, Cox just added two new wireless experts to the roster: Dane Dickie to executive director of wireless product development; and Raj Beri to VP of wireless product operations. (See Cox Adds Wireless Firepower.)

Dickie, late of Hughes Telematics, AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T), and the former BellSouth, is heading up the development of devices and services for Cox's wireless business unit. He's also coming on board to "manage various industry relationships and alliances." So, if you're a handset vendor and want to play in Cox's new wireless sandbox, you'll do OK if you start off with this fellow.

Beri, most recently the head of North American services for Nokia Networks following a 10-year stint with AT&T's wireless division, will oversee the "long-term operational processes" for the MSOs wireless product, including those areas tied to architecture, development, and support. He'll also play a role in Cox's wireless-related relationships and alliances.

Of course, all of this means Cox is a few steps closer to getting its ambitious wireless plans off the ground.

Cox is starting off with a 3G network made up of its own gear and help from Sprint Corp. (NYSE: S). Leaning on spectrum won at the 700 MHz auctions, Cox also plans to take it up a notch with 4G Long-Term Evolution (LTE) technology. (See Cox Wireless: Soup to Nuts and Cox Preps Cellular Network, Eyes LTE.)

Cox has not said exactly when or where the wireless party will get started, but a spokesman notes that the plan is to launch a 3G wireless service sometime this year. The MSO, which declined to say how many folks are on its wireless team these days, is holding off revealing details about devices, service features, and pricing plans until launches are imminent. But that won't stop us from sniffing around.

— Jeff Baumgartner, Site Editor, Cable Digital News

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