by Derek Kerton

Cable Cos To Partner With Sprint For Mobile

In the battle to win the fabled 'triple-play' market, the cable companies have been doing slightly better than the phone companies. They were able to roll out Internet services faster than DSL, and their speeds are typically higher. More recently, the telcos have begun offering DSL at lower rates to crawl back in the ongoing race. But each side, cable or telco, has a hole in their offering: cable lacks a mobile phone component, and telco lacks a TV solution. Telco has temporarily solved the TV issue with partnerships with satellite TV vendors, and now cable aims to solve their lack of a mobile offering through a partnership with Sprint. This, of course, elevates the triple play to the non-baseball analogy of a quadruple play. Comcast, Time Warner, and Cox can collaborate on this issue together, since they have almost no competition thanks to geographic separation. A Sprint partnership, though significant, is hardly a surprise: Mike wrote about essentially this very deal in December 2004. While many will endorse the value of a quad-play, there are some of us who have trouble understanding how getting one very long, incomprehensible bill each month is better than getting four, shorter yet still incomprehensible bills. But there are long term loyalty benefits to the operators for bundling, and a Cable/Sprint deal will probably accelerate the emergence of Fixed-Mobile Convergence in the USA.

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