updated 10:55 am EST, Tue December 4, 2007
Cox 700MHz Wireless
In a partly unexpected move Cox Communications today revealed that it intends to bid in the FCC's upcoming auction for the 700MHz band, becoming the first company outside of Google confirmed as making an attempt at the valuable wireless frequency. The announcement will have the company place at least $4.6 billion for a portion of the network and is geared towards improving the "convergence and mobility" of Cox's services, according to the company. The phrasing points to Cox establishing a wireless network of its own, though whether this will include calling or just data is uncertain. Cox is best known for its cable Internet and TV services and may be seeking to offer a third business.Cox
Such an expansion would alter the wireless Internet business in the US, which is dominated by established landline phone providers such as AT&T and Verizon but may come under fire from newcomers that seek to take advantage of the 700MHz auction rules, which are partly meant to encourage business outside of the traditional, locked-down models for cellular service. No other American cable providers, such as Comcast or Time Warner, have yet opted to make a bid.
Cox may be the exception as it remains one of the few cable companies without a public stock offering, reducing the pressure to turn an immediate profit on any new network it chooses to run. Service would begin by February 2009 at the earliest, when 700MHz cellular or Internet services can legally begin in the country.