Verizon Wireless & Cox Tag-Team on U-verse

Cox Communications Inc. and Verizon Wireless have picked Oklahoma City and Tulsa, Okla., as the first markets to get a cable/mobile services bundle that comes out of the multifaceted deal they forged late last year.

Like all of the Verizon Wireless/MSO hookups so far, Cox and the carrier have stayed clear of Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ) FiOS markets, and, in this instance, will team up in a territory served by AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T)'s U-verse platform. Cox tangles with FiOS primarily in Northern Virginia and Rhode Island. (See Comcast/Verizon Combo Steers Clear of FiOS.)

In Oklahoma, Cox and Verizon Wireless will try to lure new customers with prepaid Visa debit cards ranging from $100 to $400 if they take the MSO's triple play package, a smartphone or tablet from Verizon Wireless and agree to a two-year service commitment.

Tied in, Cox is in the process of selling its Advanced Wireless Services (AWS) spectrum licenses to Verizon Wireless for $315 million.

Why this matters
For Cox, it marks its quasi-return to the mobile business. Cox resold wireless services on the Sprint Corp. (NYSE: S) 3G network and was building its own 4G network before shelving the whole effort last year. (See Cox Pulls Out of Wireless.)

The co-marketing launches come into play as the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and the U.S. Department of Justice review the proposed sales of AWS spectrum licenses to Verizon Wireless from Cox, Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK), Time Warner Cable Inc. (NYSE: TWC) and Bright House Networks . On Monday, a group called the Alliance for Broadband Competition emerged, urging the feds to impose conditions on those deals, including spectrum divestitures, roaming agreements and interoperability requirements.

— Jeff Baumgartner, Site Editor, Light Reading Cable

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