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Cox Mobile plans national introduction at CES


Cox Mobile has sent out invitations to journalists for its “National Introduction,” which will happen at CES in early January. Cox Communications has nearly seven million subscribers in 18 states for its broadband and cable services, and it’s been rolling out a mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) offering to those subscribers in the past few months.


The cable company is a little late to the mobile game, compared to its competitors Comcast and Charter. That’s because it was involved in a lawsuit with T-Mobile. T-Mobile had been insisting that Cox use its network for its MVNO at prices that did not please Cox. The lawsuit was finally resolved in March, but Cox has refused to say which MNO it's using for its wireless network. A spokesman for Cox said today, “We have NOT announced an MVNO partner.” However, Fierce Wireless called a Cox store in Phoenix, and the representative who answered the phone said Cox Mobile was using Verizon’s network.

Both Comcast and Charter also use Verizon as their underlying wireless network.


Cox also would not verify that Cox Mobile is now live in all its markets. However, Jeff Moore, principal of Wave7 Research, said there are 123 Cox retail stores, and he’s checked with stores in multiple Cox markets. He can’t think of one where Cox Mobile is not already live.

The company has announced initial pricing of $45/month for unlimited or pricing for each 1GB used at $15/month


Moore said signage for Cox Mobile was so dominant at a Cox store he visited last week in Topeka, Kansas, that if he didn’t know better he would have thought Cox was primarily a mobile provider.


For now, a customer’s only option to access Cox Mobile is to purchase a Galaxy smartphone. Neither iPhones nor bring-your-own-device (BYOD) are options, yet. But Moore said that will likely change soon.


5G infrastructure

Light Reading has reported that Cox is planning to build a 5G network. The reporting was based on some LinkedIn postings, but Cox would not confirm whether it is or is not building any cellular infrastructure. However, Cox does own Citizens Broadband Radio Service (CBRS) spectrum, so it's a good bet the company will want to use some of that spectrum for its mobile offering.


In 2020 Charter, Comcast and Cox participated in the FCC’s auction of CBRS spectrum, bidding more than $464 million, $458 million and $212 million, respectively.


Both Comcast and Charter are already leveraging their CBRS spectrum to offload mobile traffic. In September Comcast announced that it was evolving its mobile strategy to include its own 5G network infrastructure by deploying Samsung’s 5G radios in its CBRS and 600 MHz spectrum.


And Charter has also talked about how it uses its CBRS spectrum to offload cellular traffic from Verizon’s network to save money on MVNO wholesale costs.


Advertising

Other than plenty of signage at its retail stores and marketing on its websites, Cox Mobile has not begun any outside advertising campaigns for its service. But that might happen after the announcement in Las Vegas at CES.

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