Cablevision (NYSE: CVC) on Thursday started selling its Freewheel Wi-Fi calling service, making the product available via the Internet at Freewheel.com.
Notably, in the company's first Freewheel announcement since initially introducing the product Jan. 26, Cablevision COO Kristin Dolan seemed to pull back from the device's potential as a replacement for cellular, emphasizing Freewheel's data capabilities instead.
"Cellular was built for voice and Wi-Fi was built for data, which is why Wi-Fi is the preferred choice for data usage today," said Dolan, in a statement. "Freewheel integrates a high quality device backed by the strength of our professionally maintained carrier-grade Wi-Fi network. As the thirst for data continues to grow, Freewheel provides consumers with a better, faster data experience, all at a fraction of the cost of cellular."
Freewheel offers unlimited Wi-Fi calling, texting and data usage, either at home or anyplace Cablevision has an operational Wi-Fi hotspot, for $9.95 to existing Cablevision customers, $29.95 for non-subscribers. The service runs on Motorola Moto G smartphones, which have been discounted to $99.95 as part of the plan.
The MSO has deployed more than 1.1 million Wi-Fi hotspots in the New York/New Jersey area so far, and plans to keep growing its network.
Freewheel was dinged early on for its lack of cellular backup and perceived usage potential. But Cablevision has also been lauded, even by competitors, for being out in front of the curve for greater exploitation of burgeoning Wi-Fi infrastructure established by MSOs.
- read this Cablevision press release
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Wireless biz should look past Freewheel's limitations and into Dolan's beady eyes