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Carriers Getting Cable-Company Competition

Bethpage, N.Y. – Cable-TV provider Cablevision Systems is getting into the mobile-phone business with a low-cost Wi-Fi calling service that offers unlimited talk, text and data at $29.95/month, or $9.95/month for Cablevision’s Optimum Online broadband customers.

The service, the first Wi-Fi calling service from a cable operator, will work anywhere in the world where subscribers have Wi-Fi access, including their own home Wi-Fi network, but customers will get automatic access to the cable company’s network of 1.1 million indoor and outdoor Optimum Wi-Fi hots pots, a spokesman told TWICE.

The service, called Freewheel, will come no annual contract and will be available exclusively with the Motorola Moto G Android smartphone at what the company called a “heavily discounted” price of $99.

Freewheel will be available for purchase nationwide starting next month at The service will be “heavily marketed” in Cablevision’s home operating territory, the company said.

Freewheel is targeted to people who are budget-conscious, who spend the day in “Wi-Fi-rich” environments such as colleges, offices and home, who want to cut their cellular-data bills or who are concerned about staying within their data caps, or live in areas with poor cellular reception. It will also appeal to families who want to buy the first phone for one of their children.

 “At a time when cellular spending is on the rise, with American households spending nearly 50 percent more on cellphone bills in 2013 compared to 2007, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Freewheel provides the market with a new, affordable choice for unlimited data,” Cablevision added..

Cablevision cited a Cisco Systems report that found that 93 percent of all data traffic generated by mobile or portable devices in the U.S. was carried via Wi-Fi.

The announcement follows an announcement last week by MVNO FreedomPop of a $5/month service that delivers unlimited voice, text and data to Android smartphone and tablets via home Wi-Fi and Wi-Fi hot spots.