Cox's Bye dishes on LTE, 700 MHz and bundling wireless – page 2

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FierceWireless: What is the nature of Cox's relationship with Sprint Nextel right now as far as roaming? And will it change as the market deployment progresses?

Bye: We have a very strategic relationship with Sprint on a number of different levels. And so in some markets we are taking advantage of their infrastructure, to get time to market, but we're also building out own network as well. We have roaming agreements with a number of providers, of which Sprint is one of them.

FierceWireless: Can you discuss the other ones?

Bye: That's the only one we've talked about to date. But like any other wireless provider, there's probably not a single wireless carrier out there that doesn't have a coverage model that's based on roaming.

FierceWireless: When Cox launches its own network, will it be on AWS spectrum? When will the 700 MHz spectrum that Cox owns come into play?

Bye: We're building out some networks today. We're actively deploying that infrastructure and turning that up. And the networks that we own, the customer while they're on that network will be using a handset with an AWS radio. When they move and they happen to be roaming on someone else's network they'll use a different radio, but it will be transparent to the customer. So clearly that's one piece. And AWS, the technology and the infrastructure is certainly at a different state of maturity than 700.

It's an emerging ecosystem. We, like many others, are testing and trialing and working on that spectrum. And there's a lot of industry push to--and we're certainly not alone in that--to take advantage of that spectrum. And we're certainly in there amongst the other players and will look to commercialize that spectrum at the earliest possible opportunity. We've sort of been public about this for quite some time now, that we think the evolution towards LTE is the right answer for us. And we think there's a global ecosystem out there that's emerging to support that that will bring scale and unit cost that we can take advantage of. Plus, it puts us with the rest of the industry on path toward 4G.

FierceWireless: Are there any content initiatives in the works to provide Cox content across mobile platforms?

Bye: We've not disclosed any of that at this point.

FierceWireless: But it could be something to be considered?

Bye: It could be.

FierceWireless: You've talked in the past about the advantages of bundling wireless with Cox's other offerings. Will the wireless service be bundled?

Bye: That's what we're known for today. We have two-thirds of our customers buying at least two products from us, and almost a third of customers buying all three products. So that's our position in the market and we've been very successful in offering that suite of services to customers, and we expect wireless will be another component of that communications package. But if a customer doesn't want to buy wireless, and they want to have a standalone service from us, then we're more than happy to sell that to them. And we'll certainly be in that market as well.

FierceWireless: What do cable players have to do to be successful in wireless? What are some of the challenges that you have to overcome?

Bye: That's a good question. And this is more of a general comment about companies that are looking for adjacent growth opportunities. I was at a cable conference some time ago, and was talking about how do you pursue adjacent growth with a view to success. And one good look at wireless for us is as an adjacent growth opportunity, or other products and services that we have been successful with--whether it's residential phone business or the high-speed Internet business or Cox Business as we've gotten into that and shown we've been successful in those segments--you really have to have something you can leverage and take advantage of.

And for us, as we get into the wireless business, there's clearly infrastructure and capabilities that we can leverage and take advantage of to build upon to add that fourth product or any of those other products and services to the core. That's absolutely essential--you've got to have something to build upon.

The second thing is, you have to have to a marketplace that sees you as a credible provider of those products and services. We clearly see that in our markets and our customers. Not only do they see us a credible provider, they're expecting us to provide those services.

And I think the third thing that's really important is you need to have the distribution to make that work. And we've talked about this. And we actually talked about this in our press release, in the wireless space retail is very important. And in conjunction with rolling out wireless we're investing heavily in revamping and repositioning our retail distribution channel, not only to the benefit of our wireless business but to the benefit of the rest of our business. To me the third component is distribution, and part of that is having a relationship with customers that really ties into the second component as well, having a credible brand a credible position with customers that allows you to market and sell those products and services. So these three things are critical to being successful and clearly things that we're in a position to take advantage of as we enter the wireless market.

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