Cox Names Remaining Wireless Markets For 2011

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Cox Communications plans to introduce wireless service in San Diego and Santa Barbara, Calif., and many of the communities it serves in Topeka and Wichita, Kansas and Northwest Arkansas later this year, which will bring mobile voice and data to more than 50% of its footprint.

Major Cox markets that aren't on the wireless docket this year include Phoenix, Las Vegas and New Orleans.

In May, the cable operator announced it will decommission the 3G wireless networks it was building in a few markets. Instead, Cox will focus on rolling out wireless voice and data service via its wholesale agreement with Sprint Nextel. Cox executives have indicated that it's more cost-effective to purchase 3G network access on a wholesale basis, but they have said they are keeping their options open with respect to 4G.

Currently, Cox Wireless is available in Hampton Roads, Va., Orange County, Calif., Omaha, Neb., Oklahoma City and Tulsa, Okla., Rhode Island and Cox communities in Connecticut and Cleveland, Ohio. Cox earlier this month kicked off its "Unbelievably Fair" advertising campaign -- which emphasizes a money-back feature for unused minutes -- in Northern Virginia and Roanoke, Va. with a launch to come sometime in the next few months.

According to Cox, the company is already nearly doubling its projected subscriber forecast in the markets where the wireless services have been launched. The privately held MSO, however, has not disclosed specific numbers.

Cox never put its own 3G CDMA networks into service. The company had been building towers and deploying base stations in no more than two of its nine major regional clusters, although Cox declined to provide a specific number.