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4G/3G/WiFi

VZ Wireless Nabs Cox's AWS Spectrum for $315M

Cox Communications Inc. has agreed to sell its Advanced Wireless Services (AWS) spectrum to Verizon Wireless for $315 million and to draft off a multifaceted service bundling partnership agreement recently struck between the mobile carrier and Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK), Time Warner Cable Inc. (NYSE: TWC) and Bright House Networks .

The deal, announced Friday, will hand Verizon Wireless 20MHz of Cox AWS spectrum covering 28 million POPs. Cox hasn't decided the fate of its existing 700MHz spectrum licenses.

"This decision has no impact on our 700MHz spectrum. We remain in full compliance with FCC spectrum requirements. We believe spectrum continues to be a valuable asset, but can't speculate on future plans," a Cox spokesman told Light Reading Cable via email.

Cox declined to say how much it paid for its AWS spectrum (it paid more than $550 million for its AWS and 700MHz spectrum won at auction), but the other SpectrumCo MSOs (Comcast, TW Cable and Bright House) stand to make tidy profits on the sale of their respective AWS assets.

Why this matters
The Cox-Verizon deal isn't a huge surprise, but it effectively gets Cox back into the wireless game and on track for a Long Term Evolution (LTE) strategy following its aborted attempt to go it alone. It recently decided to shut down a mobile service it's running on Sprint Corp. (NYSE: S)'s 3G network next March, acknowledging that the MSO lacked the scale to compete in the wireless marketplace and gain access to "iconic wireless devices." Before that, Cox scuttled plans to build out its own wireless network using a combination of its AWS and 700MHz spectrum.

The new deal will let Cox bundle and sell Verizon Wireless services with its cable lineup, and vice versa. Cox, like the SpectrumCo MSOs, also has an option to sell Verizon Wireless services wholesale under an MVNO model. That component doesn't come into play for about four years.

For Verizon Wireless, it stands to obtain valuable AWS spectrum that fits "hand-and-glove" with the company's 700MHz capacity, as company President and CEO Lowell McAdam put it earlier this month at an investor's conference. (See MSO Deal Not Verizon's Spectrum 'End Game' .)

For more
Read more about Cox's wireless adventures and cable's recent connection with Verizon Wireless:



— Jeff Baumgartner, Site Editor, Light Reading Cable

Pete Baldwin 12/5/2012 | 4:46:17 PM
re: VZ Wireless Nabs Cox's AWS Spectrum for $315M

Maybe this is what AT&T should have done, instead of talking to T-Mobile...


Alternatively: If we're so worried about AT&T/T-mobile, why aren't we worried about Verizon getting more spectrum? I don't think they really need more.


I realize it's only 20 MHz, but something doesn't feel right here.

Jeff Baumgartner 12/5/2012 | 4:46:15 PM
re: VZ Wireless Nabs Cox's AWS Spectrum for $315M <div class="node node-news" id="node-93826">


&nbsp;


Surprised it took this long, but Free Press&nbsp;is now up in arms about the Verizon-cable deals now that Cox has joined the mix, headlining it: Verizon Deals with Cable Cartel Will Kill Competition"


Here's the statement from Free Press Policy Director Matt Wood:


&ldquo;The cable cartel&rsquo;s partnership with Verizon Wireless might be convenient for business, but it will most certainly come with a high cost to consumers. Without real competition for cable or mobile phone service, there's no pressure to lower prices or innovate. For consumers that means no choice but skyrocketing prices and onerous contract agreements while the cartel rakes in exorbitant profits.&rdquo;


Just the start of another nasty fight between Free Press and the service providers? JB


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Jeff Baumgartner 12/5/2012 | 4:46:15 PM
re: VZ Wireless Nabs Cox's AWS Spectrum for $315M

Cox allowed that the price it got was a similar premium for what the other MSOs got from Verizon Wireless.&nbsp; Based on some of those figures, I'd ballpark that Cox paid about $140M.&nbsp; Not a bad profit, if that's the case, but they could use a bit more if they hope to wash out the big investments they've made in wireless so far.&nbsp; We'll have to see how much they get for the 700Mhz spectrum, if they try to sell it to a company like T-mob if its deal with AT&amp;T completely gets flushed. JB


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AESerm 12/5/2012 | 4:46:15 PM
re: VZ Wireless Nabs Cox's AWS Spectrum for $315M

Not entirely clear to me why "we" (or rather the FCC) are concerned about AT&amp;T acquiring T-Mobile's spectrum. The law &amp; economics brains like Hal Singer and Geoff Manne have leveled some serious criticism.

kaps 12/5/2012 | 4:46:14 PM
re: VZ Wireless Nabs Cox's AWS Spectrum for $315M

There will need to be some diligence from Washington types over the spectrum bills in the mix right now... some of which are trying to eliminate any increase in unlicensed spectrum under the guise of "we need more revenues" via auction. Of course there are also many who say that the innovation spurred by having unlicensed spectrum to work with ends up producing much more revenue because more businesses can be created... but guess which camp gets politicians to listen? (Hint: not the innovators who want more unlicensed spectrum.)


Microsoft and Google might appear to be good champions, but remember how Google put Android business needs ahead of its preference for neutral wireless nets. I'll believe their intentions when I see some real money being spent to develop white spaces devices and services.

kaps 12/5/2012 | 4:46:14 PM
re: VZ Wireless Nabs Cox's AWS Spectrum for $315M

There will need to be some diligence from Washington types over the spectrum bills in the mix right now... some of which are trying to eliminate any increase in unlicensed spectrum under the guise of "we need more revenues" via auction. Of course there are also many who say that the innovation spurred by having unlicensed spectrum to work with ends up producing much more revenue because more businesses can be created... but guess which camp gets politicians to listen? (Hint: not the innovators who want more unlicensed spectrum.)


Microsoft and Google might appear to be good champions, but remember how Google put Android business needs ahead of its preference for neutral wireless nets. I'll believe their intentions when I see some real money being spent to develop white spaces devices and services.

kaps 12/5/2012 | 4:46:14 PM
re: VZ Wireless Nabs Cox's AWS Spectrum for $315M

It's pretty clear that the licensed spectrum arena is a place where only the biggest can play. Clearwire was probably the last best bet at a true facilities-based competitor emerging in the "traditional" wireless space and they may continue to exist, but at a much lower competitive level than hoped and dreamed for.


So Free Press and others can rail against the lack of competition -- but I don't think it's going to come through traditional channels. I see white spaces and innovative Wi-Fi offload plans like Republic Wireless as ideas that could disrupt the traditional monthly fee, tiered service plans. As people become smarter about how they work and where they really need connectivity -- in either a mobile or nomadic use case -- they will be more open to new models of pricing and usage.


In the meantime... the consolidation will continue and the prices will stay high. It will be interesting to see if any of the prepaid players like MetroPCS or Leap can move upward to challenge the behemoths.&nbsp;

kaps 12/5/2012 | 4:46:14 PM
re: VZ Wireless Nabs Cox's AWS Spectrum for $315M

It's pretty clear that the licensed spectrum arena is a place where only the biggest can play. Clearwire was probably the last best bet at a true facilities-based competitor emerging in the "traditional" wireless space and they may continue to exist, but at a much lower competitive level than hoped and dreamed for.


So Free Press and others can rail against the lack of competition -- but I don't think it's going to come through traditional channels. I see white spaces and innovative Wi-Fi offload plans like Republic Wireless as ideas that could disrupt the traditional monthly fee, tiered service plans. As people become smarter about how they work and where they really need connectivity -- in either a mobile or nomadic use case -- they will be more open to new models of pricing and usage.


In the meantime... the consolidation will continue and the prices will stay high. It will be interesting to see if any of the prepaid players like MetroPCS or Leap can move upward to challenge the behemoths.&nbsp;

Jeff Baumgartner 12/5/2012 | 4:46:14 PM
re: VZ Wireless Nabs Cox's AWS Spectrum for $315M

I think you're right.&nbsp; If the licensed end of wireless is so tightened up, the use of&nbsp; white spaces could truly fire up the competitive mix for mobile broadband. I have not done much work in that area lately... how close/far is that to becoming a reality?&nbsp; I guess the good news is that companies with deep pockets like Google and Microsoft versus only legions of bootstrapped startups want to see it happen... so it would seem to have a decent shot from a funding perspective. JB




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xmannnnn 12/5/2012 | 4:46:03 PM
re: VZ Wireless Nabs Cox's AWS Spectrum for $315M

&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; Thank you all for your open and candid views. All which are correct and very hidden secrets. I am glad I am not the only one to see and speak upon the topic. My name is Bill Blair, CEO/Sr RF Engineer of PortalVia, Inc. (www.PortalVia.net). I invented the coveted "triple play" (internet, tv and phone thru 1 system). Quiet kept secret, I invented it over 10 years ago, learned it over 20 years ago in USAF (Satellite Communications) and it is now the business model for Verizon's FIOS, AT&amp;T's U-Verse and Time Warner's Triple Play.


&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; Truth be told, these guys have known about me, our technology and PortalVia for some time now and have fought, stolen and now embrace our technological deployment strategies and business models.


&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; PortalVia was the first company in commerce with the "DSL Assassin" (code named "Triple Play" (internet, tv and phone thru 1 system))&nbsp;in 2004 at the CTIA convention.


ttp://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20040322005219/en/CTIA-Wireless-2004-Exhibitor-Profiles.


We were the only wireless company of the sort and was being fought by the same companies who are now embracing our technology and business model royalty free.


&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; In 2010 PortalVia was issued patent protection for our 5G Wireless T3iple Play and the "SkyLamp," a wireless transceiver to be deployed at the street level. The future of telecom, cable and wireless will be hung from the streetlight poles of the world. You heard me, globally.


&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; If you have not heard, triple play is a utility and represents a $200B market, a $36B Infrastructure market and a $1.2T M2M market. And guess what? It's all based upon unlicensed frequency band infrastructures.


&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; I think I also get the picture now, because public political representatives (mayors, councilmen and women), government officials (senators and representatives)&nbsp;and agencies (USDA, FCC, FBI,&nbsp;US Treasury...), the companies mentioned above (Time Warner even took me to lunch twice) and equipment manufacturers (Cisco, Juniper, Motorola - eventhough they are our partner now, Echo Star, Hughes Network Systems, Raytheon and others...) have all balked.


&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; They are all in it for the money or some type of&nbsp;monetary benefit&nbsp;only. Eventhough a proposal has been submitted which could solve the FCC Lightsquared dilemma, begin this era's industrial revolution, create over a million jobs, competition and lower telcom bills and energy costs due to a dilapidated infrastructure, they fund friends of friends who have no real plan or business and ignore the obvious. Or, are simply just greedy and don't really care. I didn't say any names. What? Feeling conscious. Hurt, Ouch!!! Well, how in the hell do you think the small guy feels.


&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Since no one is listening, I shall eak the quiet kept secrets out&nbsp;through this medium and you individuals who share common interests and opinions.&nbsp;Or, at least are open minded.&nbsp;


&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; You are absolutely correct. Absolutely correct.&nbsp;There are very high up interests (1%)&nbsp;who do not want any progress unless it is contained and controlled by the minority interests (1%)&nbsp;who control everything else. They twart progress, innovation and recovery.


&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; But, there is something they cannot thwart. The Moore's law element fastly approaching critical mass. The elemental point where bandwidth is in full saturation, unable to handle the nation's application&nbsp;demand and thirst for more bandwidth, thereby&nbsp;triggering national, if not global congestion, bottleneck and potential security and health risks. See Wireless for America at: http://www.facebook.com/WirelessForAmerica?sk=app_128953167177144.


&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; Most respectfully submitted.


&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; Mr. Wireless (aka "Triple Play" inventor, Bill Blair, CEO/Sr RF Engineer.&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; &nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; PortalVia, Inc. (www.PortalVia.net)

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