Cable operator Cox Communications has scrapped plans to build its own 3G network in favor of its current wholesale deal with Sprint.
“We will soon begin to decommission our 3G network to better focus on making Cox Wireless available to more than 50 percent of our footprint this year,” the company said in a statement released Tuesday afternoon.
Ending its own attempt to build out a wireless network in favor of a mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) deal with Sprint will help Cox get wireless services to market faster, Cox said.
The privately owned cable operator has not disclosed how many wireless customers it currently has, but hinted the service has been popular with its subscribers.
“We are proud of our initial success with wireless, already nearly doubling our projected subscriber forecast,” Cox said.
The end of Cox’ own wireless ambitions marks the end of a false start for the company, which began its 3G trials in 2009 but waited nearly a year before making the service available to customers. Even then, Cox only launched its service in a limited number of markets.
The company never deployed commercial services on its own 3G infrastructure. “We did not launch service on our own 3G network we were building – it never served customers,” a company spokeswoman said.
Cox’ foray into the wireless market seemed to gain steam last week when the company launched its service in Rhode Island and markets in Connecticut and Cleveland, Ohio. The company also said that it would expand its wireless service to about half its customers later this year through the MVNO deal with Sprint.
The company has not said what it plans to do with its AWS and 700 MHz spectrum. Cox paid more than $500 million to buy the spectrum and build its unused 3G network.