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Summary:

Clearwire’s WiMAX rollout becomes clearer today with the announcement of 10 additional markets launching on September 1. It also become murkier because of where those markets are. Here’s the list: “Boise, Idaho; Bellingham, Wash; and eight markets throughout Texas, including: Abilene, Amarillo, Corpus Christi, Lubbock, Midland/Odessa, Killeen/Temple, Waco and Wichita Falls.” Nothing against those […]

clearwire_logoClearwire’s WiMAX rollout becomes clearer today with the announcement of 10 additional markets launching on September 1. It also become murkier because of where those markets are. Here’s the list:

“Boise, Idaho; Bellingham, Wash; and eight markets throughout Texas, including: Abilene, Amarillo, Corpus Christi, Lubbock, Midland/Odessa, Killeen/Temple, Waco and Wichita Falls.”

Nothing against those areas at all because this is great news for folks that live and/or work in the 10 areas soon to get WiMAX from Clearwire. But it makes me wonder even further about the financial impact of the rollouts. I heard it directly from Dan Hesse last year that Clear only had 60% of the capital needed to complete the national rollout plans. My guess is that’s the reason for the smaller markets getting lit up next — they’re smaller than larger metro areas such as San Francisco, Philadelphia and New York, and therefore cheaper to get going. If that’s true, and I admit it’s a big if, will the customer base in these smaller markets enable the company to keep cash flowing? Or is there not enough of a potential user base to earn enough revenues to keep the rollout rolling?

Time will reveal all, so we’ll see. For now, residents in the 10 new markets can get geared up for some high-speed wireless broadband that offers reasonable daily and month-to-month rates.

  1. I was somewhat surprised at the market choices also. Guess as you mentioned, it is probably easier to get into those markets and possibly those markets are under-served otherwise – but how much revenue could they expect. Maybe these are break-even or even loss leaders to test things out??

    Anyway – thought they would be in Austin sooner than the rumored Q4 of this year.

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  2. I expect one reason would be to test their service, and customer service, on a small scale and build up to larger markets gradually. They stand a much better chance of long term success (and medium-term financing) by having successful roll-outs and happy customers wherever they go, even if sales are just mediocre. If they use these smaller markets to demonstrate reliable technology, competence in supporting customers, and acceptable pricing plans my guess is they will be successful.

    On the other hand, they would be dead in months if they attempted to tackle a large market now and had any kind of technical glitch, poor customer service marks, or simply didn’t sign up customers as fast as some analysts want.

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    1. Mabye, but they’ve already launched in far larger markets where they can test the service, address rollout glitches, etc… Baltimore, Las Vegas and Atlanta are all live and should give them the experience they need for larger rollouts, IMO.

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  3. Sprint (or Clear) already offers fixed Wimax in some of the locations; Abilene and Wichita Falls, for sure; probably more. Their mobile Wimax is just an extension of an existing product.

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  4. Clearwire still says it has more major markets planned before the end of the year including Chicago, Charlotte, Dallas/Ft. Worth, Honolulu, Philadelphia and Seattle.

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  5. These markets make a ton of sense! Did you familiarize yourself with the current pre-wimax coverage maps at Clearwire.com before writing this article?
    Clearwire already had a pre-wimax network in 50 medium sized markets with 500,000 customers before, many of the markets you mentioned above were part of these 50. It is cheaper and faster to upgrade their existing markets and makes a ton of sense. They were already getting close to a 20% penetration rate on their pre-wimax service, so with wimax they should really take off. The old service was only 1.5 meg and 36.99 a month requiring a 2 year contract and not moblie; the new stuff is 6 meg with no contract, actually moblie, and cheaper. Please check Clearwire.com for full pre-wimax network map.
    They are also building out LA, Chicago, NYC, Dallas so the big cities are coming – you can actually use it in parts of Philly, Dallas, and Chicago right now.

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    1. Jon, you’re making my point for me. I said in the post about these markets: “they’re smaller than larger metro areas such as San Francisco, Philadelphia and New York, and therefore cheaper to get going.”

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  6. Wow people, it is Labor Day! I’m enjoying my extra day off, and I am planning to doing something fun that will probably involve a car trip and seeing something new in Deerpark I haven’t seen yet.
    You write new post on a Monday at the labor day? … hAppy blogginG!

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