US cable operator Cox Communications is expected today to announce plans to build and launch its own 3G mobile network, as well as unveil a new partnership with Sprint Nextel. An Associated Press report speculates Cox will build its own WCDMA-based network in its cable service area and will partner with Sprint for roaming calls outside those areas. Service launch in Atlanta, New Orelans, San Diego, Omaha, Las Vegas, Kansas and much of southern New Mexico is touted for 2009. Meanwhile Cable Digital News says the 3G network will use kit from Huawei, whilst the operator is also set to test LTE technology for a potential next-generation upgrade.

Cox’s mobile aspirations – initially reported in August – will add to the company’s existing service offering of video, phone and Internet services. Earlier this year Cox spent more than US$300 million at the FCC’s 700MHz spectrum auction. Cox’s interest in WCDMA 3G technology contrasts with its rivals. Other US cable companies such as Bright House Networks, Comcast and Time Warner Cable are pursuing WiMAX technology with a combined investment of US$3.2 billion in the proposed joint venture between Clearwire and Sprint’s Xohm assets. Cox, which has six million customers, therefore appears to be the only major US cable company interested in building its own mobile network.