Cablevision wants to partner with T-Mobile USA to offer cellular/Wi-Fi service

Cablevision said it wants to partner with T-Mobile USA to add a cellular component to its current Optimum Wi-Fi service. The company made the disclosure in a filing with the FCC arguing against AT&T's (NYSE:T) proposed $39 billion acquisition of T-Mobile, noting the transaction would deprive Cablevision of T-Mobile as its best potential cellular network partner. 

"Cablevision has been actively exploring expanding its mobile Wi-Fi service to incorporate traditional cellular broadband service as a canopy to complement its existing Wi-Fi service," Cablevision wrote in a recent FCC filing. "Cablevision envisions offering a complete package of mobility services that would employ Wi-Fi and cellular broadband interchangeably and seamlessly."

Cablevision said T-Mobile would make the best partner for such an effort. The company said T-Mobile would be a better partner than Sprint Nextel (NYSE:S) due to T-Mobile's GSM-based network, which Cablevision said has a broader international reach than CDMA. Sprint has served as wholesale network provider to Cox Communications and others.

Cablevision spokeswoman Kim Kerns told FierceWireless that AT&T's proposed purchase of T-Mobile would "eliminate T-Mobile as the key wholesale provider needed to enable new companies to enter the wireless telephony market." Kerns declined to comment on any talks between Cablevision and T-Mobile. A T-Mobile spokeswoman did not immediately have a comment.

Cablevision has been offering its customers free Optimum Wi-Fi service, built by BelAir Networks, as a tool to compete not only with the likes of Verizon's (NYSE:VZ) programming and fixed broadband offerings, but also with wireless carriers. In June, Cablevision said its Wi-Fi service has been used by over 500,000 customers and that 60 percent of its customers use it more than 10 times a month. The company also boosted peak speeds on the network to 15 Mbps.

Cablevision, which, unlike MSOs Comcast and Time Warner Cable, is not a wholesale customer of Clearwire (NASDAQ:CLWR), has also reportedly been linked to wholesale LTE provider LightSquared. In its FCC filing, Cablevision said neither Clearwire nor LightSquared provide the necessary scale for wireless service.

For more:
- see this Cablevision filing (PDF)
- see this second Cablevision filing

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