Some Potential Wireless Applications
Brian Roberts, chief executive of Comcast, said the Sprint deal will help push cable operators current services into the wireless format both inside and outside of U.S. homes. To illustrate such opportunities, the companies showed off a mobile phone application through which Sprint users will be able to watch the cable providers content on their handhelds, check voice and e-mail messages, and surf the Web."The cable industry provides consumers with the best in-home communications experience, but we also know there will be a tremendous competitive advantage over [rivals] if we can create a way to integrate wireless and broadband products into one simple offering." Will the SBC merger derail AT&Ts plans? Click here to read more. One of the more innovative applications suggested by the new partners could be the capability for consumers to someday control an in-home device such as a DVR (digital video recorder) from a mobile phone, giving people the opportunity to record shows remotely, or even download saved programs from a cable operators set-top box onto a wireless device. The companies said they would also work to utilize Sprints 2.5 GHz broadband radio spectrum to provide high-speed data services, including new entertainment and communications applications. Industry watchers lauded the benefits of the new partnership, saying the deal made it possible for Sprint and the cable operators to save the billions of dollars they would have spent trying to build out their own capabilities. Experts observed that it will likely be new applications, and not the promise of cheaper pricing via bundling of services, that will drive consumer uptake of the integrated products. "If the partners can deliver next year as they say, it will definitely shake up the market," said Bruce McGregor, analyst for Washington-based researchers Current Analysis Inc. "The biggest advantage will be found in what sort of applications they can offer that overlap wireless with video and broadband connections in the home, and help further tie wireless into the digital living room." McGregor said consumers are increasingly looking for more convenient ways to manage all of their various communications and entertainment devices, which he said could prove fruitful ground for the new partners to investigate. Despite his reservations over what people may be willing to pay for such new services, the analyst said the venture should give the involved companies a head start over SBC, Verizon and other companies. Next Page: What do consumers want?
"This venture is a strategic, creative and economic way to converge cables great products with Sprints technology," Roberts said.