Cox considering prepaid wireless service

Cox Communications likely will offer prepaid wireless service through its MVNO relationship with Sprint Nextel (NYSE:S), according to a company executive.

In an interview with FierceWireless, Cox's Kelly Williams said the cable operator is considering plans to launch prepaid service at some point in the future. He declined to give a specific timeframe for the launch.

"Prepaid is definitely something that is on the radar screen," said Williams, Cox's vice president of wireless products and operations. "We do recognize it's important to parts of our customer base and to the overall wireless community. So it's something that's high on our list."

Cox offers wireless service across parts of its cable footprint via Sprint's CDMA network. Williams said currently Cox can rate in real time voice, data and messaging transactions. "That gives us a path to a prepaid offering that could be really sophisticated in terms of what we would provide," he said, without providing details.

Williams also said Cox will offer wireless services to businesses through the auspices of Cox Business, but he declined to provide a launch timeframe for that effort as well.

Cox introduced its wireless service last year. The MSO's key differentiator in wireless is "MoneyBack Minutes," which gives customers a 5-cent credit per each unused voice minute, up to $20 per month. The money appears as a credit on subscribers' bills. Cox's wireless service plans cost between $40 per month for 450 minutes to $100 per month for unlimited talking, texting and Web access. The carrier offers a range of handsets, including Android-powered smartphones. Cox recently confirmed it will dismantle its own wireless network in favor of expanding its service offerings through Sprint's network.

In his interview with FierceWireless, Williams also discussed the carrier's spectrum, handset, tablet and service plans. FierceWireless will publish the full Q&A next week.

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Article updated July 5 based on clarification by Cox that the cable company hasn't officially decided to launch prepaid wireless service.