Cablevision hints at voice over WiFi play

Cablevision has hinted it may launch a wireless voice service, and the assumption is the service will run over the MSO's WiFi hotspots it has been rolling out in New Jersey and New York.

"I think that a wireless voice network riding on top of a wireless data network is inevitable," Cablevision COO Tom Rutledge said during the company's second-quarter conference call.

It's unclear exactly how Cablevision would move forward with a voice play, though, and whether it would include a cellular component. However, Rutledge said "there is a significant opportunity there to create a voice business with very little capital expenditure." The company is spending about $300 million on the WiFi network.

Pali Research said it suspects Cablevision would partner with an existing wireless player like T-Mobile USA, which has a wireless product that allows customers to use voice over WiFi in the home and the cellular network elsewhere.

The second quarter revealed the MSO is holding its own against Verizon's FiOS service in New York. Analysts believe its WiFi strategy is a big reason why. In June, Cablevision announced its broadband customers accessed the Internet more than 2 million times for free over its Optimum WiFi service and averaged more than 1 million minutes online per day since rolling out the service in the fall of last year.

For more:
- see a transcript of Cablevision's earnings call here.
- check out Wireless Week
- see FierceTelecom

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