Cox Launches Mobile Service in 19 US States to its 7 Million Subscribers

  • Cable player competition in the mobile service arena has increased in the US with Cox Communications announcing its Cox Mobile offering during CES 2023.
  • Cox Mobile is launching nationwide to its 7 million broadband subscribers in 19 states with a by-the-Gig $15 plan and an unlimited $45 plan per line.
  • Cox Mobile will use Verizon’s network as an MVNO while also offloading to its 4 million hotspots.
  • Cable net-adds will continue to grow strongly as customers look to bundle and save money.

America’s third-largest cable internet provider Cox Communications announced its Cox Mobile service during CES 2023. The service will run on Verizon’s network and be available for its 7 million broadband customers nationwide. Cox covers around 7% of US households, parts of 19 states and Washington DC. Cox is following the footsteps of other cable players, like Comcast’s Xfinity Wireless, Charter’s Spectrum Mobile and Altice’s Optimum. June 2022 saw the launch of WOW! Mobile, which runs on Reach Wireless.

Cable’s growing mobile presence

Cable companies have steadily increased their mobile subscriber penetration over the years. When looking at combined net adds, they have captured the highest amount of postpaid net-adds in Q3 2022, with 734,000 altogether between Xfinity, Spectrum and Optimum. Postpaid carriers like Verizon, AT&T and T-Mobile, while initially not concerned, are now starting to pay closer attention to cable players as they continue to have strong subscriber growth. This trend is being boosted by the US’ current socio-economic conditions, as customers are trying to save money wherever they can. Cable players utilize a bundling approach for their mobile services by combining the deals with their internet services. This provides cost savings and fewer service providers to manage every month.

Counterpoint Research USA Postpaid Phone Net Adds
Source: Verizon, T-Mobile, AT&T, Comcast, Charter, Altice earnings statements, Counterpoint Research internal data

Cox Mobile launches two service plans and Samsung device lineup

Cox Mobile is offering two plans, just like other cable providers. The first plan is a by-the-Gig plan for $15 per month, while the other is an unlimited offering for $45 per month. During a press event, Cox Mobile Assistant Vice President of Marketing Catherine Borda de Castro and Vice President Tony Krueck emphasized the unrestricted ability to switch between the two plans to offer the most flexibility and savings possible. For a single line, when you compare Verizon’s lowest 5G unlimited plan, “Welcome Unlimited”, at $65 per month (that is with auto pay and paper-free billing), with Cox Mobile’s $45 per month unlimited plan, yearly savings amount to $240, making a very compelling case for consumers looking to reduce monthly service costs.

Cox Mobile Pricing
Source: Cox Mobile website

The current mobile phone offerings are limited, but Cox says it will launch more flagship devices in the coming months. Currently, Samsung is the only brand being offered, with devices like the A13 5G available for $199.99 ($50 off) and the S22 for $499.99 ($300 off) until January 31. The likely reason for this is Cox’s need to have devices switch seamlessly between Wi-Fi and the cellular networks it supports, which may require some changes to existing device infrastructure and software. Another potential reason is that smaller OEMs might be hesitant to join at the start as the unit economics and ROI still need to be proven out for a company that wants to break into the mobile space. Cox already tried to enter the market in 2011 but shuttered the efforts as it found it was not able to be competitive within the market back then.

Leveraging networks, between CBRS and Wi-Fi calling

While Cox does hold some spectrum in the CBRS space, it has not deployed or utilized the assets yet. Like Comcast, Cox could potentially begin installing small cells in key metropolitan areas to offload traffic from Verizon’s network, which would save the new MVNO millions over the long run, as it wouldn’t need to pay to use Verizon’s network for connectivity. Along the same lines, Cox will use its over 4 million hotspots to offload traffic from Verizon’s network. Cox does not own all these hotspots, instead it collaborates with other cable and internet service providers including Optimum, Spectrum and Xfinity to achieve nationwide coverage.

Before the national launch, Cox Mobile was tested in Hampton Roads, Virginia, Omaha, Nebraska and Las Vegas Nevada, with some CBRS field testing done in Las Vegas as well. The results looked very positive according to Cox and provided confidence to open the service to its 7 million customers in 19 states. The current mobile offering is only available for consumers, although Cox Mobile does acknowledge that business subscriptions is another lever it is looking into.

Cox Mobile to go big on marketing – Annie the sheep and Super Bowl

Cox promised to heavily begin marketing its offerings during major sporting events, such as upcoming NFL games and the Super Bowl. It showcased its marketing campaign, which will revolve around Annie the sheep, not only a representation of Cox Mobile’s brand and vision but also an embodiment of its customer base and values.

What Cox Mobile means for mobile industry

Cable players will likely continue growing their mobile subscriber base, especially in these recessionary conditions as people look for value and cost savings. This will put additional pressure on postpaid carriers, which have been bleeding subscribers to cable players over the last years. There is hesitancy in the industry, especially OEMs, to go all-in on partnerships with Cox Mobile, as it is a new brand with no mobile customer base. The US smartphone market is already facing weakness due to the economy, inventory glut, and COVID-19 closures of factories in China. This makes additional investments into new markets challenging for many OEMs.

Counterpoint Research Cable Player Mobile subs
Source: Comcast, Charter, Altice earnings statements, Counterpoint Research internal data

The initial quarters after the launch will be the key for Cox Mobile to begin getting mobile subscribers and prove to the market that further investments and collaborations will be fruitful in the long run. Strong Q4 earnings announcements and net-adds from Comcast, Charter and Altice will help Cox Mobile. It will likely benefit from a halo effect, as Xfinity and Spectrum are showing good mobile penetration already, at 15% of their subscriber base. Operating margins will also be a key factor to watch since it will reveal how well Cox can utilize its wireless hotspots to offload cellular traffic. Look for Cox Mobile to follow similar playbooks of other cable players in 2023, but with some distinct differentiation such as seamless rate plan switching and a cleverly thought-out marketing campaign.

Will 10 Pro Provide Premium Push to OnePlus’ US Dream?

OnePlus’ 10 Pro model originally launched in China in January 2022, but people stateside had to wait for the device until its global launch on March 31. This time around, OnePlus went with a single flagship device and some hardware choices that cut the full retail price by $100 compared to its predecessor, the OnePlus 9 Pro. The device becomes available on April 14 at T-Mobile and retailers such as, Amazon and Best Buy.

A short review

 The good

 There are already plenty of reviews of this device out there since it launched in the beginning of 2022, so this will touch upon a few things only. I have now had the device for over a week and can tell OnePlus has definitely made improvements on the camera via its partnership with Hasselblad. Pictures are less saturated and more natural. The same camera sensors from the 9 Pro are used in the 10 Pro so you can really tell the difference that software can make. OnePlus has not confirmed if these software updates will be available for the 9 Pro. In addition to the camera, the 5,000 mAh battery and 65W charger are terrific. Being able to charge your device from 0% to 100% in roughly 32 minutes is amazing. The 80W version of the charger even shaves off a few more minutes, but the US electrical system does not support that kind of power, unfortunately. The 65W charger can also double up as a laptop charger. The device feels fast and snappy thanks to the latest Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 processor and 6.7” QHD+ (3216 x 1440 pixels) resolution on a 120Hz Fluid AMOLED with an LTPO panel.

Counterpoint Research Will OnePlus 10 Pro Provide Premium Push to OnePlus’ US Dream?

The bad

 Spec-wise, the phone truly can compete head-to-head with flagship devices from Apple, Samsung, Google and others. However, there are two minor downgrades that the device has compared to the 9 Pro. The latest version does not include mmWave and only supports sub-6 5G bands. It is certified on both T-Mobile and Verizon’s 5G networks but can only run on AT&T’s 4G network as it will not pursue certifications from this carrier. Secondly, OnePlus is only offering one memory and RAM configuration model in the US, the 128GB and 8GB RAM variant, which will disgruntle some users wanting the higher variants that are available in other countries.

On the software front, OnePlus is promising three major OS updates and four years of security updates, which falls slightly short compared to Samsung. While OnePlus and OPPO are developing their own OSs, they do share a unified OS code base, which has led to some design choice issues related to the latest OxygenOS 12 software. Icons and fonts feel more heavy and rigid instead of the minimalist design of OnePlus. The widget shelf that OnePlus implemented often gets opened accidentally when you try and swipe down from the top of the screen.

US market and OnePlus: Still just a prepaid contender?

Ever since OnePlus launched with US carriers, it has offered a premium smartphone for consumers. This strategy has been largely unsuccessful due to the stranglehold Apple and Samsung have in the premium market. OnePlus has had much better success in the sub-$300 space with its Nord series, especially the N200 5G in Metro by T-Mobile. In fact, due to LTE chip shortages in 2021 combined with T-Mobile’s push to upgrade its lower-end base to 5G, OnePlus grew its market share to almost 10% in Q2 and Q3 2021 for both prepaid and postpaid sales combined. Overall, OnePlus sold 2.5 million Nord series devices in 2021, the vast majority of them through T-Mobile channels.

OnePlus Share in T-Mobile

With the OnePlus 10 Pro, the company is again making a bid for premium market share. The $899 price is competitive, putting it at the same level as the Pixel 6 Pro and $100 cheaper than the S22 Plus. No other OEM includes a powerful 65W charger. T-Mobile is currently offering the OnePlus 10 Pro for new and existing customers for free with an eligible trade-in on Magenta MAX, or 50% off with an eligible trade-in on any postpaid plan with 24-month bill credits.

From a discussion with OnePlus during a pre-launch briefing, it seems the company is ramping up its marketing efforts for the US market in 2022. In February, The Boston Marathon announced that OnePlus would be the official smartphone and key sponsor for the 2022 Boston Marathon. For the past several years, OPPO was the sponsor. OnePlus has promised more such announcements to come in 2022, which is all that can be said for now. These initiatives will certainly help OnePlus gain more visibility in the US, where it remains relatively unknown. A larger mind share will help the brand in postpaid sales where brand perception and trust are larger purchase decision factors compared to the prepaid market which is more price focused.

It was a good move on OnePlus’ part to go with an even more streamlined premium option for its 2022 flagship strategy. There is no “base” version like in the OnePlus 9 or a “T” version like it had with the OnePlus 8T. This makes it less confusing for consumers who don’t know the brand well yet. T-Mobile continues to be a strong partner for OnePlus given the (un)carrier’s history of being more less dominated by Apple and presenting consumers with more Android smartphone SKUs. However, the device will unlikely make a big impact on the premium space, especially since Samsung launched its S21 FE and S22 devices earlier this year. OnePlus may also lose out on some of its core customers due to the limited SKUs and OxygenOS 12. But for new potential customers, the strategy makes sense for the long run.

For the full version of the report, subscribe to the US Channel Share Tracker by contacting

Related Posts

Q2 2021: AT&T Has a Strong Wireless Performance

From the perspective of hardware sales, AT&T had a strong Q2 2021. Smartphone sales were up 31% YoY. The carrier sold over five million smartphones within postpaid and about 1.6 million smartphones within its prepaid brands. The third largest carrier in the US saw 789,000 postpaid net additions and 174,000 prepaid phone net additions. These were solid wireless results. The selloff of some international assets and media units will continue to help AT&T focus on its 5G rollout and new service offerings. For complete AT&T and Q2 2021 results, click here.

Interesting takeaways from AT&T’s quarterly results:

  • AT&T’s ‘upgrade the base’ campaign remains on track and successful. The carrier seems committed to this expensive but effective way of reducing churn and pushing subscribers onto unlimited 5G services.
  • AT&T’s service revenues grew 5%. Impressive growth, which will likely keep AT&T aggressive on upgrading the base.
  • Equipment revenues were up 32% YoY. Much of the growth was due to a poor Q2 2020 due to COVID-19 lockdowns. However, even after taking COVID-19 into account, smartphone sales were strong, and AT&T punched above its weight selling iPhones and flagships during the quarter. Again, much of this can be attributed to the same promotions being offered to its base – the best deals are not reserved for ‘switchers’ coming from other carriers.
  • AT&T is divesting its media units. DirecTV was a disaster. TimeWarner faces similar problems plus it was hit during COVID-19 as cinemas and sports activities were shut down for many months. It appears AT&T is worried about debt and will focus more on wireless, 5G and new 5G services, reducing the leverage of media. Verizon is ahead of AT&T here, already divesting most of its media investment errors.
  • AT&T continues to invest to grow digital sales. Counterpoint’s Online, Offline Channel Share Tracker estimates online sales increased to over 33% during COVID-19 but have reverted to just above pre-COVID levels. Prepaid is slower to transition to online sales. AT&T will be adding more Cricket authorized retailers, which will help its prepaid business.
  • To further help digital sales, AT&T is adding same-day delivery. AT&T aims for “more sales via less stores”. This is an especially good goal for postpaid, which is more accustomed to digital purchases.
  • AT&T is focusing on improving the customer experience, shortening sales distribution, and quickening customer service responses. T-Mobile has done a nice job improving in this area and AT&T is pushing in similar areas. This will help keep churn low.
  • Within prepaid, LG volumes will be quickly selling through for good. Moto and Samsung have been the first OEMs to gain on LG’s void. Top-sellers within prepaid have been the Moto G Power 2021, Moto G Play, Samsung Galaxy A01 and Samsung Galaxy A12.
  • Surprisingly, AT&T sounds less optimistic about fixed wireless access (FWA) than Verizon and T-Mobile. The carrier is focusing on AT&T Fiber and its faster speeds. It continues to add fixed broadband subscribers — 246,000 during the quarter — and penetration has increased to 36%. AT&T expects to add over one million fiber broadband subscribers in 2021.
  • AT&T added 4.2 million connected device subscribers during the quarter. It had a very solid wearables quarter. Connected cars continue to be strong, too.

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