Wi-Fi hotspots appear to have become an ingredient in churn reduction for Time Warner Cable, and the company is doubling down its Wi-Fi bet this year, with a particular focus on deploying more hotspots in New York City.
Time Warner added some 10,000 Wi-Fi hotspots during 2012 and intends to more than double its existing network of hotspots going forward, said Robert Marcus, president and COO, during the company's fourth-quarter earnings conference call. The hotspots offer free access for Time Warner's high-speed data customers.
Though Time Warner will focus much of its hotspot expansion effort in New York, where it faces stiff competition from Verizon's (NYSE: VZ) FiOS TV and Internet service, the company's primary Wi-Fi hotspot footprint currently is in Los Angeles. Based on the company's experience in that market, "the evidence we have so far certainly suggest the correlation between churn reduction and Wi-Fi utilization," said Marcus, according to a Seeking Alpha transcript of the call.
However, he added that usage is still at a level where it is difficult to point to Wi-Fi hotspot use having a meaningful impact on overall subscriber performance.
Marcus said Time Warner is also developing out-of-home viewing options for its TWC TV streaming video applications, though he did not share specifics. The apps, available for devices running Apple's (NASDAQ:AAPL) iOS and Google's (NASDAQ:GOOG) Android, currently limit streaming to Time Warner subscribers' in-home Wi-Fi connection.
Time Warner is part of a Wi-Fi roaming network it formed along with MSOs Comcast, Cablevision, Cox Communications and Bright House Networks last March. According to Light Reading, the National Cable & Telecommunications Association (NCTA) estimates those operators have "well over" 100,000 Wi-Fi access points.
Time Warner also has a partnership with Verizon Wireless (NYSE:VZ) forged through last summer's deal in which the mobile operator acquired AWS licenses from SpectrumCo--a joint venture of Time Warner, Comcast and Bright House--and Cox Communications.
Time Warner's primary Wi-Fi suppliers are Cisco Systems and Ruckus Wireless. It also buys some Wi-Fi equipment from Ericsson (NASDAQ:ERIC), a Time Warner spokesman told Light Reading.
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