Cable companies including Comcast and Charter Communications continue to promise that they will eventually enter the mobile industry-- but what exactly they plan to do remains unclear.
Charter Communications CEO Tom Rutledge said the MSO's Worldbox set-top box "is finished and we're ready to deploy it." However, he hedged when questioned how long the carrier's rollout of Worldbox would take.
Charter Communications continues to work to obtain regulatory approval for its massive purchases of Time Warner Cable and Bright House Networks, arguing that the resulting company-- dubbed New Charter-- would only service roughly 21 percent of all American broadband customers. Charter noted that figure is "less than Comcast and only slightly more than AT&T."
Liberty Media Chairman John Malone said he thinks cable operators, including those in the U.S. market, will inevitably add a cellular wireless component to their bundle of service offerings, calling the addition something of "enormous" importance. He said the easiest way to jump into wireless will be through MVNO deals and cautioned against buying spectrum and building out networks too soon.
Next year's incentive auction of 600 MHz broadcast TV spectrum might attract bids from companies that are not wireless carriers, including Comcast, Charter Communications, Dish Network and Google, financial and industry analysts said. However, the analysts also said that even if these wild card players do win spectrum, they likely will not be looking to build out wireless networks of their own.
Top executives from Comcast and Charter Communications said this week their companies are considering participating in next year's incentive auction of 600 MHz broadcast TV spectrum. However, Time Warner Cable will not take part in the bidding. But TWC did hint that it could be open to launching a wireless service if its competitors do.
T-Mobile US CEO John Legere said he expects "dark horse" companies like Google, Comcast and Charter Communications to bid in next year's incentive auction of 600 MH broadcast TV spectrum. Legere said the next six to 12 months are going to be a "fascinating time period" in the industry as the future of the wireless market takes shape as more content goes online and more Internet traffic goes mobile.
T-Mobile US is seen as the carrier with the clearest shot to acquiring spectrum in next year's incentive auction of 600 MHz broadcast TV airwaves, especially now that Sprint has decided not to participate. However, dozens of smaller carriers that are members of the Competitive Carriers Association are still likely to participate and try to grab spectrum-- it's just not clear at this point how many ultimately will.
New Street Research analysts believe Charter Communications likely will be successful in its efforts to acquire Time Warner Cable and Bright House Networks, unlike Comcast in its failed attempt to purchase TWC. The analysts at the investment research firm give Charter's deal for TWC and Bright House an 80 percent to 85 percent chance of being completed "with conditions greater than Charter has currently offered but not so great as to affect the material prospects for the post-transaction company," they wrote in a recent note to investors.
Charter Communications appears to be gearing up to test a remote DVR capability with partner Cisco, as well as new Wi-Fi offerings. Cisco disclosed the news in a recent filing the company made with the FCC.