NEW YORK Comcast Corp, the leading U.S. cable operator, is pulling out of a wireless phone joint venture with number-three U.S. wireless company Sprint Nextel Corp, a Comcast spokesman said on Wednesday.
Branded as Pivot last year, the two-and-half-year-old, $200 million joint venture between Comcast, Time Warner Cable Inc, Cox Communications, Advanced/Newhouse Communications and Sprint failed to spark much interest from customers.
The cable companies and Sprint had hoped customers would be interested in a single integrated service that combines cable television, Internet access, fixed-line phone and wireless on one bill. It also planned to offer integrated services such as TV clips and e-mails on cell phones or a single voicemail.
A Comcast spokesman said Pivot did not satisfy the cable company's wireless ambitions.
"We decided to discontinue the service because the product required a lot of operational complexities so we decided it wasn't the approach we wanted for the long term," he said.
Comcast would not confirm how many subscribers took the Pivot service but the spokesman said Pivot mobile customers would be switched to a similar Sprint package.
Other joint venture partners were not immediately available to comment on whether they would also pull out and Sprint spokeswoman Melinda Tiemeyer referred Reuters to each company for confirmation of their plans.
"We will maintain our relationship with all our cable partners and will continue to talk with them about other wireless ventures going forward," Tiemeyer said.
Last month it was reported that Comcast and Time Warner Cable were in talks with Sprint and Clearwire Corp to form a joint venture for WiMax wireless service. A source close to one of the companies said the WiMax joint venture talks were not affected by anything that happens with Pivot.
(Reporting by Yinka Adegoke; Editing by Braden Reddall)