Today Cox announced it will get out of the wireless phone business completely. As of today, the company will cease selling wireless plans to new customers. Support for existing subscribers will end on March 30th of 2012.
Cox says their decision to no longer sell its 3G wireless service “was based on the lack of wireless scale necessary to compete in the marketplace, the acceleration of competitive 4G networks as well as the inability to access iconic wireless devices.”
Cox had launched wireless service in less than 50 percent of its footprint, including: Hampton Roads, Roanoke and Northern Virginia; Orange County, San Diego and Santa Barbara, Calif.; Omaha, Nebraska; Oklahoma City and Tulsa, Okla.; and Rhode Island and Cox communities they serve in Connecticut and Cleveland, Ohio.
Cox Wireless, which owns 700 MHz and PCS (1.9 GHz) frequencies operated their own, stand-alone phone service. They launched “unbelievably fair” service late last year. But in May 2011, Cox announced it would become a Sprint MVNO and finish migrating its customers to that network instead.
Cox spent over $550 million for radio spectrum licenses, reports Fierce Wireless. Cox paid $304M for 14 A block, and 8 B block licenses in the 700 MHz band. Their 700 MHz coverage is limited to just 14 “A” blocks, or 6.6 percent of the population, while its 8 “B” blocks cover just 0.6 percent, mostly in it’s cable territories.
SpectrumCo, the AWS bidding consortium with Cox, Comcast and Time Warner Cable, picked up 137 licenses in 2006’s Advanced Wireless Services auction (at 1.7/2.1 GHz). SpectrumCo won a total of 137 AWS licenses for $2.37 billion. Comcast’s share was $1.29 billion, followed by Time Warner Cable’s $632.2 million, and Cox’s $248.3 million. (See SpectrumCo Gets Licenses). Cox paid $248.3 million for AWS licenses in 2006, and transferred those licenses out of SpectrumCo and directly to Cox.
It wouldn’t surprise some industry observers if AT&T soon announces that they have purchased the Cox spectrum for upwards of a $1 billion.
Related Dailywireless articles include; Cox Communications: Out of Cellular Operations, LTE: Cox Cable Calling, FCC Okays Terrestrial LTE for SkyTerra, Battle of the Bands Goes to Congress, Phoney Spectrum Scarcity , T-Mobile: Now HSPA+ Coverage for 75M, Clear: No Limits, FCC to Okay $2.3B AT&T Deal, Cellcos: One Thing – Bandwidth, T-Mobile Eyeing Clear Spectrum, FCC Considers Auctioning Off TV Frequencies, AT&T Data Caps Extend to Femtocells, AT&T’s New Data Plans,White Spaces Trialed in North Carolina, FCC: Change for Broadcasting & USF, FCC Moves Forward with White Space Databases, Comcast Goes Mobile with WiMAX, Time-Warner Adding Mobile WiMAX Service, National Broadband Plan Previewed, FCC “Finds” 500MHz?, FCC to Auction TV Airwaves?,