Cox Trials Mobile in Phoenix, S.D.

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Cox Communications has begun dialing up mobile phone service in the Phoenix and San Diego areas.

David Grabert, Cox director of media relations, confirmed the initial trial markets, which were identified on the company's Web site (www.cox.com/mobile). He said marketing efforts behind the service offerings in Phoenix and San Diego are “imminent,” but declined to say where and when the cable operator 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 television 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 message at home.

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

Time Warner, for one, has said it won't market a “quad play” bundle of video, voice, Internet and mobile phone (see story this page). Instead, the nation's second-largest cable operator plans to market the mobile service as an extension of the triple-play services.

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

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