TW Cable Stays in Wireless Holding Pattern

Speaking to investors Thursday, soon after Sprint Corp. (NYSE: S) and LightSquared announced a big Long Term Evolution (LTE) wholesale deal, Time Warner Cable Inc. (NYSE: TWC) CEO Glenn Britt revealed little about the MSO's wireless plans with Clearwire LLC (Nasdaq: CLWR) or its Advanced Wireless Services (AWS) spectrum holdings. (See Sprint's $13.5B Jump to LTE With LightSquared.)

In fact, he didn't sound all that crazy about wireless at all.

"The marketing evidence is mixed," he said of TWC's involvement with mobile service bundles, noting that "our [wireless] strategy really hasn't changed." He reiterated that wireless services "in terms of actual customers, so far, are not terribly exciting." (See TW Cable Has 15,000 WiMax Subs .)

"We are not really ready to say that this is a nonstarter; maybe we're just not doing it right," he added.

TWC appears more bullish on Wi-Fi, which the MSO is deploying in markets such as Los Angeles. Beyond that, Britt said the operator is exploring how it might bundle cable modem service with Wi-Fi and wireless services "for a single attractive price," with a promise to discuss this strategy in more detail in the coming months.

And it's unclear if TWC will plow any more money into Clearwire, which needs more funds to complete its buildout. Britt said the MSO certainly isn't obligated to expand its investment. TW Cable's rumored interest in investing in LightSquared did not come up on the call. (See Rumor: TW Cable Talking With LightSquared.)

He didn't say how or when TWC might use its AWS spectrum.

Other tidbits from Thursday morning's earnings call:

  • TWC's content distribution network (CDN) plan is well underway as it gets ready to build a $100 million data center in Charlotte, N.C., scheduled for completion by the end of 2012. TWC is already using a Denver-area facility to deliver IP video simulcast feeds for the MSO's iPad application and, later, to broadband-connected TVs. (See Time Warner Cable Hints at Video CDN Plan .)

  • The 178,000 square-foot Charlotte facility will also house one of two "national super headends" that will help TWC use a more centralized cloud networking strategy for its full range of video, high-speed data, voice and business services.

  • NaviSite is already paying dividends, winning a couple of significant contracts since being acquired in April, TWC officials said. NaviSite contributed $26 million in the quarter, helping revenues for TWC's biz service arm jump 35 percent from last year. The division grew 25 percent without NaviSite. (See TW Cable Buys Into the Cloud.)

  • TWC has been a champion of switched digital video (SDV) to help it free up bandwidth, but Augusta, Maine, will be its first market to use an analog reclamation strategy based on the use of Digital Terminal Adapters (DTAs) -- an approach that Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK) is favoring. (See Comcast's $1B Bandwidth Plan .)

  • TWC has deployed Docsis 3.0 in 60 percent of its footprint and expects to wrap it up in 2012. It added 25,000 D3 customers in the second quarter, twice the number that signed on in the previous quarter.

    — Jeff Baumgartner, Site Editor, Light Reading Cable

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