Why Pivot mattered

Pivot, the wireless joint venture established by Sprint and four cable TV companies, bit the dust last week as the cable partners exited, but it should be considered neither a complete failure nor the end of cable guy adventures in the wireless market.

It is certainly true that Pivot was not successful enough, to the point where several industry observers last week seemed to enjoy a good laugh on the occasion of its demise. Still, it would be extremely surprising to hear that Comcast, Time Warner Cable, Cox Communications, an Bright House Networks learned nothing from the experience. At least a couple of these companies know from their earliest forays into the wireline telephony world that it can take years and several tries, to get a new business right.

Ultimately, Pivot may not have been the right market avenue or the right technology at the right time. There is still the potential that some cable TV companies could invest in a WiMAX joint venture involving Sprint and Clearwire. This has been rumored at least, though Sprint and Clearwire have not even gotten their acts together on that JV yet. Also, Comcast already has established its own wireless venture. Could it instead choose another wireless technology and business strategy?

Pivot mattered because in its way it brought a few cable TV companies closer to providing the one aspect of triple play or quadruple play bundles where major telcos have a clear advantage over them. Pivot is gone and telcos still have that advantage for now.

Cable TV companies also had wanted to use Pivot to integrate wireless with their TV offerings to support new applications like place-shifted content sharing. Now, that integration will take somewhat longer, and telcos have time to further develop and grow their IPTV offerings, new content applications and bundle service strategies. But cable TV companies will not make too many more wireless missteps, so use the time wisely.

For more:
- read this story at Light Reading's Cable Digital News

Related article:
Comcast was pretty excited about Pivot at this time last year. Comcast report

- Dan