It's no surprise. Competitors AT&T, Inc. (NYSE: T) and Verizon Communications, Inc. (NYSE: VZ) are increasingly intruding into Cox's turf by offering television service and high-speed internet using their own nationwide telecom infrastructure. Cox has competed for quite a long time on those offerings, but the willingness of the old Bell companies to get into digital television delivery must have sent Cox over the edge. Add satellite television into the mix and Cox thinks it needs to be a player on every possible platform it can. It's right.
What Cox's issues will be include: 1) Launching a wireless service from the ground up that doesn't have issues all over the place from the start. AT&T and Verizon have a great handle on their wireless businesses and it will take Cox offering more than just another commodity offering to take market share. 2) It has zero expertise in running a wireless voice and data network. Although the technical learning curve is probably pretty short, Cox has some heavy lifting to do here. The company did say that the wireless phones it will offer will sync with PC address books and video from its network will stream to these handsets as well. Considering wireless television is still pretty ugly at the moment (nowhere near broadcast quality), this could be Cox's differentiation factor. Note that Cox won't simply be re-selling service from incumbent companies: this is a new offering from the ground up.