Craig Wireless plans
to exit video business

The television provider will move its
customers to either Oceanic cable
or DISH Network

Wireless television provider Craig Wireless Honolulu Inc. is getting out of the video business and shifting its customers to Oceanic Time Warner Cable and satellite provider DISH Network.

Neither Oceanic President Nate Smith nor Boyd Craig, chairman and chief executive for Canada-based Craig Broadcast Systems Inc., would divulge terms of the transaction.

Not all outgoing Craig Wireless subscribers are candidates for Oceanic's service, Smith said. He didn't have a count of how many customers that would be.

"We're not going to leave anybody high and dry," Craig said. "Our plan is to give everybody lots of opportunities to decide when they want to switch."

Customers wishing to set up video service through DISH Network may wind up dealing with Craig Wireless again, as it has just become a DISH-authorized dealer, Craig said. Other dealers include Radio Shack, Sears and Wal-Mart.

Craig would not say how many Craig Wireless customers will be affected, but a former employee of the company, who wished to remain anonymous, estimated the number was between 4,500 and 5,000 at the beginning of the year. Before Craig's purchase of the system from Verizon Americast in 2001, it had as many as 10,000 customers.

The deadline for the switch-over is Sept. 30.

Craig Wireless is not leaving Hawaii, since it is keeping its infrastructure and licensed frequencies.

"Our plan is to put in a fourth-generation network in Honolulu," Craig said. "So the plan is, no matter where you go in Honolulu and eventually throughout Oahu, you're going to have a ubiquitous broadband connection that covers everything."


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