Cox Mobile has invited media to their “National Introduction,” which will take place during CES in early January.
Cox Communications has roughly seven million broadband and cable subscribers in 18 states, and it has been rolling out a mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) product to those users in recent 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.
“We have NOT announced an MVNO partner,” a Cox spokeswoman said today.
However, when Fierce Wireless called a Cox store in Phoenix, the representative who answered the phone stated that Cox Mobile used Verizon’s network.
Comcast and Charter both use Verizon as their primary wireless network.
Cox also refused to confirm that Cox Mobile is currently available in all of its markets. However, Jeff Moore, principal of Wave7 Research, stated that there are 123 Cox retail locations and that he has checked with stores in multiple Cox markets. He can’t think of any place Cox Mobile isn’t already operational.
The company has revealed an initial pricing of $45/month for unlimited or $15/month for each 1GB consumed.
Moore claimed that Cox Mobile signage was so prominent at a Cox store he visited last week in Topeka, Kansas, that he would have assumed Cox was exclusively a mobile carrier if he hadn’t known differently.
For the time being, the only way to get Cox Mobile is to buy a Galaxy smartphone. Neither iPhones nor bring-your-own-device permitted (BYOD) are options, yet. But Moore said that will likely change soon.
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.
Charter, Comcast, and Cox bid more than $464 million, $458 million, and $212 million, respectively, in the FCC’s auction of the CBRS spectrum in 2020.
Comcast and Charter are already offloading mobile traffic using their CBRS frequency. Comcast stated in September that it would be expanding its mobile plan to include its own 5G network infrastructure by deploying Samsung’s 5G radios in its CBRS and 600 MHz airwaves.
In addition, Charter has discussed how it leverages its CBRS spectrum to offload cellular traffic off Verizon’s network in order to save money on MVNO wholesale charges.
Cox Mobile has not launched any outside promotional campaigns for its service, save from plenty of signs in its retail stores and marketing on its websites. But that may happen after the announcement at CES in Las Vegas.