A Cable Company May Soon Supply Your Wireless Service

Could your local cable company's next advertising gimmick be the "quadruple play" of mobile data, phone service, cable, and Internet? That may be the case if talk of a possible buyout of mobile data provider Clearwire is true.

Sources say Sprint is actively seeking a major cable provider to invest in its partner Clearwire, sources told Bloomberg. No specifics are available, but it appears Sprint's goal is for a cable company to buy Clearwire outright.

Comcast, Time Warner, Bright House Networks, and Cox are reportedly involved in negotiations. All four companies currently invest in the company, and both Comcast and Time Warner resell the wireless data company's service.

Sprint and Clearwire want to use the additional investment from the cable providers to build out Clearwire's planned high-speed LTE network, according to the report.

In any case, whatever deal results from the talks may give these cable companies a valuable tool to compete with wireless carriers. Expect more bundling, such as that "quadruple play" of services, which could give the cable provider an opportunity to supply nearly all of a consumer's communication technology needs.

The cost of operating infrastructure itself is what cuts into profits. Offering services -- like phone service or data -- is where these companies make money: this is why Sprint seems to be shopping Clearwire around so vigorously. Building out that LTE network is expensive, and Sprint doesn't want to pay for it.

Looking down the barrel of the gun that is the merger of AT&T and T-Mobile, can you blame them?

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