When it comes to wireless strategy, Cox Communications always has marched to the beat of its own drummer. However, today, the MSO announced it was following the lead of Comcast, Time Warner Cable and Bright House Networks by selling its Advanced Wireless Services (AWS) spectrum to Verizon Wireless. (For more, see Cable Troika Aligns With Verizon Wireless For Spectrum, Sales).
Cox will sell its 20 megahertz of AWS licenses covering 28 million POPs for $315 million. The agreement does not include Cox’s 700 MHz spectrum licenses, the company’s Cox Wireless customer accounts or any other assets.
And like its cable brethren, Cox and Verizon Wireless will sell each other’s residential and commercial products and services through their respective sales channels; down the road, Cox may have the option to sell Verizon Wireless’ services on a wholesale basis. In addition, Cox expects to enter into arrangements with the innovation technology joint venture formed by Verizon Wireless, Comcast, Time Warner Cable and Bright House Networks to better integrate wireline and wireless products and services. Recently, Time Warner Cable’s CEO Glenn Britt said he doesn’t see any problem with partnering with Verizon, a staunch competitor, to resell each others’ products. (For more, see Live From New York: Britt Considers Verizon A ‘Frenemy’).?
“These agreements provide Cox customers with key enablers to mobility, such as access to Verizon Wireless’ 4G LTE network and iconic wireless devices,” said Pat Esser, president of Cox Communications, in a statement. “We look forward to the many benefits this will bring to customers.”?
The year has been one of fits and starts for Cox in terms of its wireless strategy. At the beginning of 2011, Cox was building out a 3G network and opening retail outlets to sell its own wireless service on a 3G CDMA network leased from Sprint-Nextel. It also was conducting 4G LTE trials using its own AWS and 700 MHz spectrum. That all changed in May, when Cox announced it had given up on building its own 3G network, relying on its wholesale relationship with Sprint entirely. Then in November, the MSO said it would be exiting Cox Wireless, too. (For more, see Cox Discontinues Wireless Service).
Now that it’s aligned its 4G future with Verizon Wireless, the only remaining question is: What plans does Cox have for its 700 MHz spectrum?