A major consortium of cable and telecom announced today that they are banding together to accelerate the convergence of video entertainment, wired and wireless data and communications products and services, including the development of “converged next generation products for consumers.”
Starting next year, Sprint Nextel, Comcast, Time Warner Cable, Cox Communications and Advance/Newhouse Communications plan to develop and introduce products that combine the best of cable's core products and interactive features with wireless technology to deliver services anywhere, any time, all on a single device. They are calling this “a wireless ‘third screen’ beyond the TV and computer screens."
This announcement comes only days after Bill Gates predicted that single handheld devices will be introduced to meet all our audio/video/communication needs
These co-branded products and services will be offered to customers through a combination of 1,600 Sprint retail stores, cable retail outlets and other third-party distributors, including thousands of Radio Shack stores.
Next Generation Wireless
The next generation wireless phone will be designed to connect customers of Comcast, Time Warner Cable, Cox and Advance/Newhouse Communications to Sprint through Sprint's nationwide high-speed Power Vision™ EV-DO (Evolution Data Optimized) network and integrate products from each cable company. Customers using the converged services will be able to seamlessly interface between e-mail, home and mobile voice mail, Digital Video Recorders (DVRs) and photo programs.
These Power Vision EV-DO-enabled handsets and service packages will enable customers to:
* Use interactive features like remotely programming their home DVR
* Have a single voice mailbox that serves both the home and the wireless
* Access innovative new calling plans that allow for unlimited calls between the home and the wireless device
* Surf the Internet using their cable Internet portal
* Send and receive e-mail from their cable high-speed Internet account
* Access unique content like streaming television programming, music, video clips, games and pre-recorded DVR programs
Show Me the Money
The joint venture, which has a 20-year term, calls for a combined initial financial commitment of $200 million, $100 million of which will be committed by Sprint and $100 million of which will be committed collectively by the cable companies.