Cable companies eye cell service

Nov 08 2004 - 12:44 AM ET | MVNO
The Wall Street Journal has a piece [Subscription req.] on the possibility of cable companies teaming up to offer cellular service. According to the page B1 piece, Powerhouse cable providers like Comcast, Time Warne, Cox and Charter have been in talks over purchasing an existing carrier or setting up a Mobile Virtual Network Operator (MVNO). MVNOs purchase airtime from an existing carrier at a bulk rate and resell it to consumers (Virgin Mobile is an example). bq. The most compelling reason for cable to move into wireless is that so much of communications and the Internet is going mobile.

Striking a deal with a cellular provider would enable cable companies to offer one more option to customers: wireless data. Carriers such as Verizon Wireless and Sprint Corp. are rolling out so-called 3G, or third-generation, offerings that eventually will allow wireless Internet access over cellphone networks, at speeds comparable to wired broadband connections. That would allow cable companies to offer broadband virtually anywhere, instead of relying on their cable connection. If the cable co's swing the MVNO route, Sprint PCS is the most likely candidate. The carrier already has set up several MVNO deals, including Virgin Mobile. MobileTracker first hinted at Time Warner looking into MVNO's back in June.