McCaw: WiMax Key to Cable's 'Next Step'

WASHINGTON -- The Cable Show -- Although there's a big wireless show happening more than 2,400 miles away, one of that industry's big names stopped here to spread some WiMax love.

WiMax will provide the "perfect antidote to the duopoly" of AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) and Verizon Wireless , said Clearwire LLC (Nasdaq: CLWR) chairman Craig McCaw during today's opening session, which focused on cable's budding wireless ambitions but revealed little about deployment plans.

"Our task is to have it cheap and reliable, and to give a template for cable to take that next step," said McCaw, who counts Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK), Time Warner Cable Inc. (NYSE: TWC), and Bright House Networks among his company's investors. (See Cable Plays Clearwire Card and Comcast WiMaxes Portland.)

Not that toppling the duopoly is going to be easy.

"AT&T and Verizon are not the [wireless] elephants; they are the super elephants. They have all the market share," Comcast CEO Brian Roberts said.

Not all MSOs are throwing their lot in with Clearwire. Privately held Cox Communications Inc. is going it alone with a 3G/4G strategy. (See Cox Wireless: Soup to Nuts .) Even if Cox's technical approach is different, the goal of letting consumers access services from any location is the same, said Cox president Patrick Esser.

"You have to start putting in place the foundation to get there. We were prepared to take that risk on our own," Esser said.

Then you've got Suddenlink Communications , an MSO with 1.3 million subscribers, which has been content to sit on the sidelines.

"We're not certain how important the wireless product is going to be for us," said Suddenlink chairman and CEO Jerald Kent, noting that many moons ago, his company was asked to look at the now-defunct "Pivot" joint venture between cable and Sprint Corp. (NYSE: S). (See MSOs Pivoting Away From Sprint JV.)

— Jeff Baumgartner, Site Editor, Cable Digital News

Be the first to post a comment regarding this story.
Sign In