Time Warner open to idea of WiMAX voice service

Time Warner Cable left the door open for a possible voice service running over Clearwire's mobile WiMAX network, but said that it was still in the early stages of using WiMAX in its products.

As one of Clearwire's wholesale partners--along with Sprint Nextel and Comcast--Time Warner has been offering its own branded WiMAX service, called Road Runner Mobile. Time Warner CEO Glenn Britt said on the company's fourth-quarter earnings conference that he believes the networks of the future will combine wireless and wireline components.

"This will develop in exciting ways we really can't imagine today, but I think there is going to be a whole array of products using these hybrid networks in the future," he said. "So this is the very early beginning and I don't know how to size the opportunity because I don't think any of us really and fully imagine what the products are going to be--but it is an exciting opportunity."

Britt said Time Warner currently has the capability to create a wireless voice product, but that its future is uncertain. "We are working with both Clearwire and Sprint on that," he said. "Having said that, I think there are plenty of voice providers out there today in the cellular business and there doesn't appear to be a crying demand for another one, nor does it appear that we really need that in our product portfolio. We have the capability if we actually need it. Right now I don't think we do."

That stance sits in sharp contrast to Cox Communications, which is actively building out its own CDMA voice network in its AWS spectrum. This week, the company also announced that it had begun LTE voice and video trials on its 700 MHz spectrum.

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