The service will connect to the Internet through Interop's WAP gateway, and Interop will be managing the service for Cox, at least at first. (See Cox Taps Interop.)
Cox is in the midst of building out its own wireless network, starting off with 3G and then later jumping to Long Term Evolution (LTE). A still-undisclosed portion of the MSO's 3G network comes by way of a partnership with Sprint Corp. (NYSE: S).
Cox has not revealed where it will offer wireless services first, nor has it set a launch date, but it's expected to start tapping select markets in the fourth quarter of 2009. (See Cox Wireless: Soup to Nuts .)
The Interop deal gives Cox the option to switch to the vendor's turnkey model -- taking management of the service in-house, in other words -- at any time, says Interop VP of marketing and public relations Damian Sazama.
"That [flexibility] was key to our negotiations. This allows Cox to go ahead and get these [messaging services deployed] before they have the expertise to manage them," he says, noting that training is already underway.
Interop is not releasing the financial terms of the arrangement, nor how the deal will change if Cox decides to take over the management piece.
Although Cox has not disclosed many details about its wireless service, it has talked up the notion of converging applications, including messaging, onto its video and high-speed Internet platforms. Sazama says the Interop system would leave Cox "well positioned" to handle that via IP Multimedia Subsystem (IMS) and SIP (Session Initiation Protocol).
Interop claims to have nearly 160 deployments with more than 55 wireless operators, with MetroPCS Inc. (NYSE: PCS) among its largest partners. Cox is Interop's first cable customer, but discussions are underway with other cable operators, according to Sazama.
Some possible candidates include Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK), Time Warner Cable Inc. (NYSE: TWC), and Bright House Networks , which are all doing mobile WiMax in partnership with Clearwire LLC (Nasdaq: CLWR). (See Cable Plays Clearwire Card.)
Interop is the latest vendor to be included in Cox's wireless plans. Here's a roundup of the others so far:
- Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd.
Cox will kick off its 3G network using Huawei's "LTE-ready" SingleRAN system and the vendor's 3900 base stations. (See Cox, Huawei Make Wireless Connection .)
- Qualcomm Inc. (Nasdaq: QCOM)
Cox intends to use BREW-enabled handsets for the downloading of applications in categories such as games, tools, lifestyle, messaging, and ringtones. (See Cox Selects Qualcomm's BREW.)
- Bridgewater Systems Corp. (Toronto: BWC)
The company is supplying its Service Controller and Subscriber Data Broker products, which will be used to authorize and authenticate subscribers. (See Cox Calls for More Mobile Aid .)
- Starent Networks Corp. (Nasdaq: STAR)
Cox has tapped the vendor to supply the multimedia core of Cox's 3G mobile network, a move that Starent says will smooth Cox's migration to LTE via software updates. (See Starent at Core of Cox's 3G Push.)
- BCI Communications Inc. (OTC: BERL)
BCI is on board to help Cox with cell site acquisition, design, and construction. (See BCI Gets Busy With Cox's 3G Buildout .)
— Jeff Baumgartner, Site Editor, Cable Digital News
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