People have been wondering how the cable companies would establish a wireless presence (forget for a moment that they owned part of Sprint PCS but sold it off years ago). Several of them established the Pivot program, with Comcast, Time Warner, etc., acting as value-added resellers of Sprint’s network. But in my experience with the cable companies, they like to own the network. Leasing is not their cup of tea. Given that, it was a bit of a surprise that they chose not to bid in the recent 700MHz wireless auction.
Now comes the news that Time Warner, Comcast and Bright House Networks (three members of the Pivot consortium) are in discussions to invest in a Sprint-Clearwire WiMax joint venture. Rumors of a tie-up between the two most prominent WiMax service providers have swirled for months, especially given Sprint’s recent troubles.
This is a perfect situation for the cablecos, in my view. They get access to a full near-nationwide network, cost-sharing, and a bit of a head start on the big wireless players Verizon and AT&T on 4G.
Looks like there’s another nationwide broadband competitor. Hooray!