It’s official. Pivot Wireless, the wireless joint venture between Sprint and the cable industry is dead. The three major cable partners, who included Comcast, Time Warner Cable, and Cox, have decided to move on. Sprint announced back in October that it would stop marketing Pivot. All existing Pivot wireless subscribers will migrate over to Sprint. There are no firm numbers on exactly how many subscribers the venture had obtained. All joint venture participants had previously complained about Pivot’s provisioning and integration complexities. It almost seems that it was doomed from the start.
The real question is what’s next for the cable industry in regards to wireless? They are sitting on a “boatload” of spectrum obtained from recent AWS and 700 MHz (Cox is the lone national cable provider with 700 MHz) auctions. In some regards, Pivot was almost a distraction. With it removed from the equation, the cable industry may start moving more aggressively on a true facilities based wireless platform. Gigaom.com is reporting that Comcast has hired a seasoned wireless executive to start building the framework for their own wireless launch. There has also been speculation that the cable industry was interested in investing in Sprint’s WiMAX play, Xohm. That seems highly unlikely now, given the Pivot blow up. Whatever the case, the cable industry needs to move fast on their wireless strategy. If they don’t, they may arrive to the wireless party too late (which may already be the case), and spend billions on building a nationwide wireless network, only to find out that subscribers are quite content with their current wireless provider.