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Cox Disconnects Its “Unbelievably Fair” Cell Service; Existing Customers Will Migrate to Sprint

Phillip Dampier November 16, 2011 Competition, Consumer News, Cox, Wireless Broadband No Comments

Don't bother.

Cox’s ambitious plans to get into the cell phone business were already tempered by the cable company’s decision last spring to simply resell Sprint service under the Cox name.  Now it’s “game over” as the company today quietly stopped signing up new customers and will pull the plug on existing ones March 30, 2012.

Those customers already signed up for Cox’s “unbelievably fair” cell service will officially become Sprint customers next April.

In a confidential memo obtained by Engadget, Cox executives ultimately decided it didn’t make sense for the company to invest in a limited range 3G cellular network.

Cox’s plans to utilize the 700MHz wireless spectrum it acquired in 2008 for 3G-powered wireless service began to go wrong almost from inception.  The wireless business is increasingly in the hands of two super-sized companies, thanks to ongoing mergers and acquisitions.  That leaves smaller, regional companies at a competitive disadvantage unless they heavily discount service.  While Cox was contemplating its first 3G network, AT&T, Verizon, and Sprint were well on the way to launching next generation 4G service that would have left Cox behind.

Cox itself is a regularly-rumored takeover target, likely by Time Warner Cable.  No cable industry buyer has much interest in a cell phone service.  Shedding it could make the company more attractive for would-be suitors.

Engadget reader Sal Petrarca observed:

I always thought it ironic when I [heard Cox’s radio ad asking customers] ‘You wouldn’t order cable from the phone company, would you?’ I guess no one is going to be ordering [cell] phones from the cable company now, eh?”

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  • Limboaz: A billion dollars seems like a steal when you consider how big Toronto is. Meanwhile the cable ISP's down here in the States plot how they can jack up...
  • sandiegohdtv: In another part of my town, Cox offers this program as well. However, they offer it all year round and I believe you can register for it online....
  • sandiegohdtv: Made a huge error. It was 15 mbps to 60 mbps. Sorry, for that as I thought the filing meant that, but I did check it over again. I found out when it w...
  • Phillip Dampier: It's a bit complicated depending on where you live and who serves you: Regardless of what we want, it is almost a certainty TWC's and Bright House'...
  • JayS: Could you clarify #1 & #7. It appears that the acquirer, Charter, only offers one (1) level of internet speed. I would expect they would unify al...
  • Phillip Dampier: You will end up keeping your existing modem for phone service only (at no charge) and your own purchased modem will supply Internet access only. It's ...
  • Phillip Dampier: This is likely because Time Warner management has curtailed some of their most aggressive promos this year, so the ones you can get now cost a little ...
  • Phillip Dampier: I think most if not all premium channels are available on promo for $9.99. I do not know if they can handle swapping one for the other however....
  • Phillip Dampier: It probably isn't a "contract" but an agreement. If you were promised a two year commitment, they should be giving it to you. Probably the promo you w...
  • dawsonfiberhood: This reminds me how AT&T and TWC have squandered opportunities to avoid customer dissatisfaction by provisioning the modems at *exactly* the contr...
  • framistat: This doesn't always work. The Webster, NY office was helpful back in mid 2014 and continued my promo rate for basic internet @ 24.99 for a year. How...
  • Phillip Dampier: On what page do you see that referenced? I only saw mention of adopting Bright House's program. I will be very surprised in Charter offers a 15Mbps ti...

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