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Cox Tests 4G Wireless Voice, Video

Who needs coax? Cox Communications said it has successfully tested voice calling and high-definition video streaming over wireless networks using fourth-generation wireless Long Term Evolution (LTE) technology in Phoenix and San Diego.

In the trials, the Atlanta-based operator is using the Advanced Wireless Spectrum (AWS) and 700-Megahertz spectrum that it acquired in Federal Communications Commission auctions in 2006 and 2008. Cox spent more than $550 million for those spectrum licenses to support its wireless plans, which include wireless broadband, and the MSO has confirmed it will spend more than that building out its 3G and 4G networks.

The operator is not disclosing when it expects to offer services based on LTE, the 4G wireless technology capable of delivering downlink speeds of more than 100 Megabits per second. Cox's trials began in the fourth quarter of 2009 and are ongoing, said manager of public relations Jill Ullman. The tests involve a number of cell sites, and the operator is testing the services at various distances, but Cox is keeping other details confidential for now.

Cox worked with equipment vendors Huawei Technologies and Alcatel-Lucent, which deployed an end-to-end LTE solution and provided associated professional services for the trial in Phoenix.

While Cox is testing 4G LTE technology in these markets, it is initially deploying 3G CDMA wireless services in Hampton Roads, Va.; Orange County, Calif.; and Omaha, Neb.; with commercial launches expected in March.

Cox said it selected Phoenix and San Diego for the 4G trials because of the “advanced technology orientation” of customers in those markets, as well as the terrain and suburban density variances in those locations.