Four cable companies team with Sprint in $200M JV

Comcast, Time Warner, Cox and Advance/Newhouse have partnered with Sprint Nextel to offer wireless services along with their cable TV, high-speed data service and landline telephony services. The cable operators will put up a combined $100 million and Sprint will match the figure for the $200 million joint venture that is set to launch early next year. The venture will be mutually exclusive for three years and have a 20-year term. The project will focus on fixed mobile convergence offerings and MVNO-like branding as the cable companies resell Sprint's wireless service. The companies expect to reach 75 million US homes.

The wireless industry has expected the cable racket's quadruple play for some time now, and this coalition of four has been shopping all year for the last leg. As Verizon and SBC recently launched video services, Sprint and its cable cohorts' announcement is timely. But the MVNO-like offering seems to be aimed at the tech-savvy couch potato. A handset that doubles as a remote for your PVR? Bundled services bring a bundled bill, and that remains the quadruple play's secret sauce. Or maybe the whole thing is just an attempt by marketers to remove baseball allusions from the discussion?

For more on Sprint's deal with the cable companies:
- take a look at this piece from CNET