Cox hopes to leverage TV experience for mobile video offering

There are a number of cellular providers around the country from the big four of AT&T, Verizon, Sprint, and T-Mobile to smaller players like Clearwire and others. There is little to differentiate these providers from one another except for the devices available on the networks.

Cox Communications is the third largest cable provider in the country serving mostly southern states. Cox announced that it will be building its own wireless network allowing it to offer customers bundles TV, Internet, and wireless calling. The wireless network will also allow the company to provide wireless broadband to customers as well.

The Wall Street Journal reports that Cox decided to build its own network after a joint venture between it, Comcast, and Time Warner went sour. The joint venture between the companies was called Pivot and would have used the Sprint wireless network.

The WSJ reports that Cox has declined to comment on exactly how much the wireless network has cost to develop. However, analyst Romeo Reyes from Jefferies & Co has estimated that Cox would need to invest in the area of $300 million before breaking even on an operating basis. Stephen Bye, Vice President of wireless at Cox, says that he hopes the service will allow the company to leverage its TV experience to exploit the currently small mobile video market. Analyst Mark Donovan from comScore said, "Video alone isn't any kind of key differentiator."

Bye also says that Cox plans to build an application store like the offerings from Apple, Google, and RIM already on the market. Cox is working with mPortal for its application store. Bye declined to talk about pricing, but did say that the wireless offering would provide monthly contract and prepaid phones to current Cox customers and non-customers alike. Cox is using the chunk of wireless spectrum it purchased in the FCC auctions that also sold off the spectrum that analog TV broadcasts currently use.

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