Time Warner Cable Takes Mobile Broadband To Big D


Time Warner Cable will cut the cord in North Texas next week with Dec. 1 official launch its 4G mobile network in Dallas, provided through Clearwire.

The MSO also is debuting Road Runner Mobile on Dec. 1 in its Charlotte, Greensboro and Raleigh, N.C., markets.

Time Warner Cable expects to bring up service in San Antonio, Austin, and Honolulu and Maui in early 2010.

To promote the launch in North Texas, Time Warner Cable will host an event Dec. 9 in Dallas at the House of Blues featuring an appearance by IndyCar driver Danica Patrick -- billed as "The Fastest Woman in the World." The TWC division also will host a sweepstakes offering the chance to win a grand prize of $4,000 plus an HP Mini 311 notebook, with 10 more HP notebooks going to 10 first-prize winners.

The WiMax wireless network -- advertised as providing downloads up to 6 Mbps -- is operated by Clearwire, which is majority-owned by Sprint Nextel and has also received investments from Comcast, Bright House Networks, Intel and Google. Clearwire earlier this month raised an additional $1.564 billion from existing investors, including $103 million from TWC. In addition, Clearwire announced Tuesday it had raised another $920 million in debt financing, which combined with a net $360 million from a bond offering gives it a total of $2.8 billion of capital raised this month.

TWC is selling the WiMax service, branded as Road Runner Mobile, in bundles and requires customers to take at least one other service. Comcast is taking a similar tack with its High-Speed 2go service, which it is marketing in Philadelphia, Atlanta, Portland and Salem, Ore., and Bellingham, Wash.

In Dallas, Time Warner Cable will offer two mobile broadband plans: Road Runner Mobile 4G National Elite ($64.99 per month), which provides unlimited data usage and provides access to WiMax and Sprint's national 3G network; and Road Runner Mobile 4G Elite ($44.99 per month), an unlimited WiMax-only service.

The service requires purchase of a WiMax access card. For the national plan, TWC is offering the Franklin Wireless CMU-300 3G/4G USB adapter, listed at $199 (or $99 with two-year contract). The WiMax-only plan is offered with the Motorola USBw100, listed at $99 (or free with two-year contract).

Additional discounts are available for double- and triple-play customers on the two Elite plans. All plans include Web Mail, Internet security, online data storage and access to other Web services.

According to Time Warner Cable, 4G network speeds average between 3-6 Mbps for downloads with bursts of up to 10 Mbps, and up to 1 Mbps for uploads based on service plan. The Road Runner Mobile service is currently not compatible with Macintosh computers.

In the future, Time Warner Cable plans to launch additional mobile services, such as the ability to program a DVR from a mobile device and the ability to take their video content with them on the go.