Cablevision’s Rutledge sees economic recovery in ad rebound, as traditional advertisers return

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

On the Call: Cablevision COO Tom Rutledge

PHILADELPHIA — Cablevision Systems Corp. is testing a new mobile phone that can work with Wi-Fi and cellular networks.

Along with other cable operators, Cablevision is looking for a way to counter the growing trend of consumers disconnecting their landline phones in favor of cell phones.

Tom Rutledge, Cablevision’s chief operating officer, talked about the company’s mobile phone plans to analysts during the company’s fourth-quarter earnings conference call.

QUESTION: Can you tell us more about the wireless voice test and would you be more likely to build or rent a cellular network?

RESPONSE: We are trialing phones that switch from Wi-Fi to cellular and back as you move in and out of Wi-Fi and cellular zones. So when you are in a Wi-Fi zone, the traffic goes over our Wi-Fi and … cable network. And when you are outside of our footprint or outside of this Wi-Fi footprint, the signal travels through a cellular network.

The test is so far proving to be good and consistent with our view of what is possible and gives us some hope that we will be able to launch additional products using the Wi-Fi network that will look like what some people think of as cellular telephone.

We haven’t made those decisions (about whether to build a cell network or lease capacity), but the latter outcome would be a less capital-intensive, higher-return business.

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