According to a Multichannel News report, the National Cable Television Cooperative (NCTC) is in discussions with Sprint to resell wireless service. NCTC executive vice president Scott Abbott noted that the discussions are very early on and no deal is imminent. It is unclear whether such a potential arrangement would be an extension of the Pivot Wireless initiative, or just a straight resale arrangement for Sprint services. Like their larger cable TV brethren, small independent cable companies want in on wireless. They recognize that the current battles with telecom are only going to become more intense, and offering wireless may prove to be a necessary component to effectively compete.
It should come as no surprise that the NCTC is talking with Sprint about wireless resale. Sprint has long partnered with NCTC member companies, acting as a wholesale VoIP/telephony provider for voice services option. Extending that relationship to wireless is only natural. An interesting question is about branding. If the Pivot wireless brand begins to gain traction nationally and sees some success, than extending that brand to independent cable companies could be of great value to them. Wireless is one of those services where a local brand may not provide as much value as a more nationally recognized brand. It’s very difficult to compete against a Verizon Wireless or T-Mobile brand on a local level, when those companies spend billions of dollars (collectively) on marketing and brand recognition. Wireless may be one of the few services where it makes sense to align one’s self with a national brand. That being said, there are a number of pitfalls in doing that. Finding the right relationship is difficult. In a near perfect world, a small local operator wants to control their own network and customer relationships, while also leveraging that national brand recognition. Such a relationship is hard to come by, and NCTC will be challenged to negotiate a deal that make preferred terms a reality.