UK Cable Going Mobile, Like a Virgin
NTL's cable network passes 12 million homes, covering 50 percent of U.K. households, and the MSO counts more than 5 million residential customers. With more than 4 million customers, Virgin Mobile is the U.K.'s largest mobile virtual network operator (MVNO). Virgin Mobile service is sold at 6,000 retail outlets, a nice footprint for NTL to leverage.
Four of the top U.S. cable MSOs -- Comcast, Time Warner, Cox Communications and Advance/Newhouse Communications -- are working to enter the mobile business through an MVNO joint venture with Sprint Nextel. The team plans to introduce cable wireless service (a nice oxymoron) this year in Austin, Tex., Raleigh, N.C., and Portland, Ore., plus at least four other markets.