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Cox ends plan to build 3G network

Why would you build a pricey 3G network from scratch when rivals Verizon Wireless and AT&T are already in the midst of upgrading their 3G network to L

By PETER WHITE

Published: 2 June, 2011

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Why would you build a pricey 3G network from scratch when rivals Verizon Wireless and AT&T are already in the midst of upgrading their 3G network to LTE?

Cox this week said it will not build its own 3G network as it has previously promised. Instead it will buy 3G access at wholesale from existing 3G services, probably from Sprint. Cox purchased spectrum for 3G in 2006 and 2008.

Cox this week told Communications Technology: “We will soon begin to decommission our 3G network to better focus on making Cox Wireless available to more than 50% of our footprint this year. We believe this approach is good for our customers, allowing us to take the necessary steps to fulfill our promise to deliver a Cox experience that customers expect from us. In continuing with our successful wholesale model for 3G wireless services, we will accomplish speed to market while achieving greater operational efficiencies from a wholesale model that continues to improve.”

Cox said the move will not impact any of the markets where it has launched 3G.

The Sprint 3G service that Cox offers is completely branded as Cox. Cox has said it has tested LTE technology but did not say what its plans for that are. Sprint is reselling Clearwire’s WiMAX service as an alternative to LTE. Clearwire has said it could switch from WiMax to LTE.

Sprint, Clearwire and several cablecos are closely intertwined in cellular. Sprint is the largest shareholder in Clearwire but Comcast, Time Warner Cable and Bright House also own Clearwire shares. Now we can add Cox to that axis as a full-blown participant.

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