Cable company Cox reiterates aversion to MVNO

Despite its small cell agreement with Sprint announced earlier this year, cable company Cox reiterated it has no plans to enter the cellular business.

Cox’s latest statement repreating it doesn't plan to enter the mobile industry serves to tamp down rumors that the nation's third-largest cable company plans to join Comcast, Charter Communications and Altice in entering the mobile business through an MVNO.

Wall Street firm Macquarie Research in a recent note to investors said Cox planned to enter the mobile industry through an MVNO with Sprint. However, a Cox spokesperson said the company has no plans to enter the cellular industry.

Sprint, for its part, declined to comment on the situation beyond the carrier’s January announcement that it would use Cox’s wireline network for its backhaul efforts and small cell build-out. That agreement with Cox also represented the end of Sprint and Cox’s patent-infringement battle.

Cox’s apparent disinterest in the mobile industry stands in stark contrast to the strategy of its cable peers. Comcast kicked off the trend of cable companies entering mobile with the launch of its Xfinity Mobile MVNO service roughly a year ago. At the end of the second quarter, Comcast added 204,000 Xfinity Mobile lines to its service, bringing its total subscriber count to 781,000 customer lines.

And in June, Charter joined the MVNO game with the launch of its own Spectrum Mobile MVNO service. The analysts at Macquarie Research recently predicted Charter’s Spectrum Mobile would gain 650,000 new subscribers within its first year of service..

Further, Altice announced an agreement with Sprint late last year for an MVNO service that the nation’s fourth-largest cable company doesn't plan to launch until next year. However, Altice has boasted that the company might be able to make a more profitable run at the wireless business than either Charter or Comcast have been able to do.

The trend of cable companies entering the wireless business represents a new competitive front for the nation’s major wireless network operators, which are all working to acquire new customers while also retaining their existing customers.