Time Warner Cable Gears Up for Mobile Hotspots

Time Warner Cable Inc. (NYSE: TWC) has started selling a wireless transmitter, called "IntelliGo," that allows its Road Runner Mobile subscribers to create their own WiFi hotspots, and connect up to five devices.

The MSO said it will charge Road Runner Mobile customers $99.99 for the product, which can connect to any WiFi-enabled device on Clearwire LLC (Nasdaq: CLWR)'s WiMax network and Sprint Corp. (NYSE: S)'s 3G wireless grid. The cost drops to $49.99 after a $50 rebate. Subscribers also must sign a two-year contract. (See TWC Tethers WiFi to 4G.)

Time Warner Cable charges customers $49.95 to $65.95 monthly for Road Runner Mobile, depending upon the market and which MSO products it's bundled with. (See Big Cable: Same Networks, Different Data Plans and Time Warner Cable Hits WiMax Accelerator.)

Sierra Wireless Inc. (Nasdaq: SWIR; Toronto: SW) manufactures the square device, which measures 3.15 inches by 3.15 inches, and is 0.6 inches thick. Sierra supplies the same wireless AirCard device to Sprint, which unveiled it in January at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas and now markets it as Sprint Overdrive.

The device can also be purchased through Clearwire, which counts TWC as an investor. (See In Praise of Pocketspots.)

Who needs to connect up to five mobile devices? Time Warner Cable spokesman Justin Venech said the MSO expects that it would appeal to commuters, families that want to have a shareable mobile connection outside of the home, and small businesses. Individual subscribers could also use it to connect multiple devices such as a laptop computer, an Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL) iPad, or Sony Corp. (NYSE: SNE)'s PSP and other handheld gaming devices. [Ed. note: Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK), another Clearwire partner, touts a mobile hotspot option that allows up to seven WiFi devices to be connected to its High-Speed2Go service.]

Time Warner Cable first demonstrated IntelliGo at The Cable Show in May. CEO Glenn Britt told Light Reading Cable in an interview at the company’s 4G exhibit at the My World pavilion then that the MSO is counting on 4G technology to allow subscribers to access content on any screen, and from any place.

"I think 4G is part of a broader platform where increasingly you’re going to get all of your products on all screen. Some may be mobile -- some will be tethered with big screens, small screens -- a whole array of things, and lots of different devices," Britt said. Here's more:

Time Warner is marketing IntelliGo in markets where Road Runner Mobile is available: Dallas, San Antonio, and Austin, Texas; Charlotte, Raleigh and Greensboro, N.C.; Honolulu and Maui, Hawaii; and Kansas City, Mo. Subscribers can also access it in other markets where Clearwire offers WiMax service, including Atlanta, Baltimore, Chicago, Houston, Las Vegas, Philadelphia, and Seattle. It can also tap into Sprint's national 3G network.

— Steve Donohue, Special to Light Reading Cable

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