Here Comes Motorola

Zoom Telephonics inked a deal last year to use the Motorola brand in cable modems, routers and set-tops sold at retail, and the company has since followed through with the launch of a set of products that are being sold at outlets such as Best Buy and Amazon.

Zoom launched three Motorola-branded DOCSIS 3.0 modems late last month:

-MB7220, a model that supports eight downstream channels and four upstream channels.

-MB7420, a D3 modem with a 16x4 configuration.

-MG7310, an 8x4 D3 modem/router with integrated WiFi (802.11ac)  and four Gigabit Ethernet LAN ports.

According to the spec sheets for those products, all three use silicon from Broadcom. Through a quick search at Amazon, the MB7220 lists for $109.99 ($79.99 for Prime members); the MB7420 fetches $129.99 ($89.99 for Prime members); and the MG7310 can be had starting at $166.31.

“We anticipate introducing three additional Motorola products and dramatically expanding the number of retail outlets at which the Motorola products are available during the second quarter of this year,” Zoom president and CEO Frank Manning said in a statement.

With the Motorola brand in hand, Zoom will be looking to create more competition at retail with rivals such as Arris and Netgear. And they'll all have company in the form of Linksys, which last month announced plans to re-enter the retail cable modem game with a set of DOCSIS 3.0-based products that will debut this spring and be powered by Intel Corp.’s Puma 6 silicon. Belkin bought Linksys from Cisco Systems in 2013.

Zoom announced its five-year licensing deal last May, locking in a deal that allowed it to be the exclusive user of the Motorola brand in cable modems/routers and set-tops (as well as cable modems inside set-tops) sold at retail in the U.S. and Canada starting in January 2016. Zoom is essentially taking over Moto branding rights that had previously been with Arris (which bought Motorola Home in April 2013), which is now pushing ahead at retail using its own SURFboard brand. Arris announced last October that it achieved record retail shipments of cable modems and gateways in the third quarter of 2015 (Arris posts Q4 2015 results tomorrow). 

According to Zoom, its initial lineup of Motorola products are available at select Best Buy stores,, all Micro Center stores, Amazon, as well as through retailers supplied by existing Zoom distributors.

Zoom, which has set up a web site for its new Motorola cable products, said its initial three models have been certified by CableLabs, a requirement for retail distribution, as well as by Comcast, Time Warner Cable, the FCC, and Bureau Veritas.

Speaking on an earnings in November, Zoom president and CEO Frank Manning said the company intended to establish Motorola as its “premium brand,” to use Zoom as its “value brand” for cable modem products.

Zoom envisions plenty of financial upside from the Moto branding deal. Manning said then that Zoom could grow its revenues by “at least $50 million in 2016 with the Motorola brand.” Zoom has not yet posted Q4 2015 results, but it reported Q3 net sales of $3.37 million, with cable modems and gateways accounting for 89% of total revenues in the quarter.

Zoom, by the way, is part of a coalition that is fighting the proposed Charter-Time Warner Cable merger.