Verizon Wireless has agreed a USD315 million deal with Cox Communications for the purchase of its 20MHz block of Advanced Wireless Services (AWS) spectrum licences, which cover around 28 million people. However, Cox has confirmed that the agreement does not include the cableco’s potentially-lucrative 700MHz spectrum assets, or its soon-to-be-discontinued Cox Wireless customer accounts. Separately, going forward, Cox and Verizon Wireless will also act as agents to sell each other’s residential and commercial products and services through their respective sales channels, whilst over time, Cox may have the option to sell Verizon Wireless’ services on a wholesale basis. In addition, Cox expects to enter into arrangements with the innovation technology joint venture formed by Verizon and cablecos Comcast, Time Warner Cable and Bright House Networks earlier this month, with a view to better integrating wireline and wireless products and services. The transfer of Cox’s AWS licences to Verizon is subject to approval by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and other regulatory requirements.
As previously reported by TeleGeography’s CommsUpdate, on 16 November 2011 Cox announced that it had discontinued selling Cox Wireless, its mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) service, blaming an inability to compete with its established rivals. The news came just two months after Cox had inaugurated 3G mobile services in its most recent markets: San Diego and Santa Barbara, California. Cox will continue offering the service until 30 March 2012, and all customers already signed up to multiple Cox services will receive a USD150 credit on their bill for every wireless line disconnected. According to a company press statement, Cox’s decision to terminate the 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’.