| SAN FRANCISCO
SAN FRANCISCO Jan 26 Cablevision System Corp
said on Monday it would launch in February a wireless
Internet phone service to give users an alternative to pricier
data plans from cellular companies such as AT&T and
The "Freewheel" phone service, which runs on any WiFi
connection, is an attempt by Cablevision to retain and
potentially add subscribers at a time when cable companies are
losing out to lower-priced, bundled TV and Internet services
from telecom firms.
Cablevision said the phone service was the first of its kind
to be launched by a cable company and aims to tap users seeking
to download unlimited amounts of data on their mobile phones
using WiFi, which is less expensive than a cellular connection.
Such services could pose a challenge to traditional telecom
carriers. Currently, carrier Republic Wireless and
Massachusetts-based startup Scratch Wireless offer users similar
services that use WiFi to control data costs.
"There has been a dramatic shift in how consumers use their
mobile devices: today, it's all about data, and WiFi is now
preferred and clearly superior to cellular," Kristin Dolan,
chief operating officer of Cablevision, said in the statement.
Cablevision, controlled by New York's Dolan family, has been
investing in its "Optimum" WiFi network since 2007, setting up
over 1.1 million WiFi hotspots or access points in New York, New
Jersey and Connecticut.
Cablevision's WiFi phone service will be offered at $29.95
per month and $9.95 per month for subscribers of its "Optimum
Online" service. It will be available exclusively on the
Motorola Moto G smartphone that users will have to purchase, the
The $180 Android phone will be sold to "Freewheel" users
without a contract at a discounted price of $99.95, it added.
(Reporting by Malathi Nayak)