Pivoting in Slow Motion

9:15 AM -- ORLANDO, Fla. -- The four big cable operators rolling out "mobile access" services with Sprint Corp. (NYSE: S) are not exactly racing to offer the services around the country, so far.

Speaking on separate panel sessions here Wednesday at the Society of Cable Telecommunications Engineers (SCTE) Cable-Tec Expo, MSO executives admitted that they're taking their sweet time introducing the new Pivot-branded services in pilot markets. In fact, one of the four Sprint-Cable Joint Venture partners, Advance/Newhouse Communications, has still not deployed Pivot in a single market.

"We're getting ready to put the product out in one market," said Bob Miron, chairman and CEO of Advance/Newhouse. "But we're not ready to announce it."

Definitely a bit more aggressive than Advance/Newhouse, Cox Communications Inc. has now deployed Pivot in either three or four markets, depending upon whether you consider Oklahoma City and Tulsa separate markets (Cox doesn't). But Cox president Pat Esser said his company is still proceeding slowly "because we don't want to mess up the customer relationship."

Esser cited numerous challenges in rolling out wireless services. His list includes "service integration and marketing integration" challenges, as well as "product integration issues" and billing and customer service issues. For example, he said, Cox customer service agents still must switch to a different management "platform" to handle Pivot subscribers.

Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK) and Time Warner Cable Inc. (NYSE: TWC) seem to be doing somewhat better. John Schanz, executive VP of national engineering and technical operations for Comcast, said the MSO has signed up several thousand wireless phone customers in its first two markets. Similarly, Time Warner Cable CTO Mike LaJoie said his company has enlisted several thousand mobile subscribers in its four initial markets.

— Alan Breznick, Senior Analyst, Heavy Reading

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