Cox Trials Mobile in Phoenix, San Diego

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Cox Communications began offering mobile-phone service in the Phoenix and San Diego areas, according to the company's Web site.

Cox director of media relations David Grabert confirmed the initial trial markets and said marketing efforts in the two areas are "imminent." He declined to say where and when the MSO will launch mobile service next.

Cox's Mobile Access service -- offered through the joint venture between Sprint Nextel and four cable operators -- will carry the same pricing plans offered by Sprint, starting at $29.99 for 200 minutes per month.

Cox Mobile TV, offered through MobiTV, will start at $15 per month depending on channel lineup, according to the company's site. The basic package will include access to local Cox news, traffic and weather programming, plus ABC News Now, E! News Update, several Music Choice channels and movie-trailer channels. The service will also provide wireless access to cable-TV listings.

Three phones will be available with Cox Mobile Access: LG Electronics' Fusic LX-550 and Sanyo's 2400 and Katana 6600. Mobile-TV service is available only on the LG Fusic.

Other features of Cox's service are similar to the Sprint-provided services detailed by Comcast and Time Warner Cable: It will provide access to Cox e-mail accounts and Internet access; provide unlimited calling between a Cox Digital Telephone home service and the Sprint wireless phone; and notify mobile-phone users whenever they receive a voice mail at home.

Comcast and Time Warner began marketing their versions of the Sprint service last fall. Comcast started in Boston and Portland, Ore., while Time Warner is trialing service in Austin, Texas, and Raleigh, N.C.

Time Warner, for one, has said that it won't market a "quad-play" bundle of video, voice, Internet and mobile phone. Instead, the operator plans to market the mobile service as an extension of its triple-play services.

The mobile-phone JV was established by Sprint, Comcast, Time Warner, Cox and Advance/Newhouse Communications in November 2005.

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