Cable MSOs Opt For Wi-Fi Sharing

Zacks Investment Research

In a major move to counter competitive threat from telecom service providers and other online video streaming providers, the five largest cable operators in the U.S., including Comcast Corp. (NASDAQ:CMCSA), Time Warner Cable Inc. (NYSE:TWC), Cablevision Systems Corp. (NYSE:CVC), Cox Communications Inc., and Bright House Networks LLC have entered into an agreement for free Wi-Fi platform sharing.

Subscribers of these cable MSOs will be able to access Internet from their respective laptops, smartphones, tablets, and other mobile devices through a nationwide shared network of more than 50,000 Wi-Fi hotspots in metro areas.

The five cable TV operators have created a new web access network called “Cable WiFi”. Using this network, subscriber of any of these five cable TV operators can access Internet even if that person is logging from outside his/her cable TV operators’ home market.

At first, the user need to login simply using the credentials of his own cable MSO’s WiFi network. Within a few minutes, the subscriber’s device will be automatically connected to the Internet once the person reach within the range of a participating WiFi hotspot of any of these five cable TV operators.

Cable MSOs throughout the U.S. are facing increasing competition from both telecom service providers and satellite TV providers. Roaming Wi-Fi connectivity is likely to become a huge opportunity for cable MSOs to minimize their respective customer churn rate. The mobile Wi-Fi hotspot market is expected to become a multi-billion USD opportunity within the next few years.

Several industry sources predicted that Wi-Fi enabled wireless devices, such as phone, computer, and consumer electronics may cross one billion mark by 2012. In addition to retail consumers, the business enterprises are likely to become major contributor for the growth of mobile Wi-Fi hotspot.

 
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