Time Warner Eyes Wireless Trial


New York— Time Warner Cable is talking to Sprint Corp. about conducting a market trial of bundling wireless phone service with the MSO’s video, high-speed data and voice-over-Internet protocol phone products, a spokesman confirmed last Wednesday.

The Wall Street Journal reported Time Warner and Sprint are looking to test the wireless bundle in Time Warner’s Kansas City, Mo., system, during the first quarter of 2005. Sprint and MCI Corp. are already providing backbone services for Time Warner Cable’s VoIP rollout.

The trial, which could help Time Warner reduce churn for its core video service, would market a quadruple play of bundled video, voice, data and wireless phone service.

Time Warner rolled out its new Digital Phone service on systems nationwide in 2004.

Don Logan, the Time Warner Inc. Media and Communications division chairman, told Multichannel News in October that the company was considering testing a wireless phone service, but that it was more focused on marketing its Digital Phone VoIP service in the near-term.

“We’re still trying to get our other voice product rolled out,” Logan said. “It’s important we deliver quality service.”

Sprint CEO Gary Forsee discussed the potential of cutting wireless deals with cable operators at a Goldman Sachs & Co. conference in October, where Logan also spoke.

“Wireless becomes the second issue,” he said.

“We believe wireless, over time, will be as important in that [cable] portfolio as voice-over-IP. But each company will pace themselves based on their own comfort level in taking on new services,” Forsee said.