Clearwire: Show Us the Money

Posted by Sam Churchill on

It’s not “show friends.” It’s show *business*.
Jerry Macquire

Ben Wolff, CEO of Clearwire, recently told USA Today that by the end of 2009, WiMax will be available to 60 million to 80 million US consumers and by 2010 they expect 140 million will be able to get the signal.

Sprint’s Xohm mobile broadband service recently launched in Baltimore. It will roll out in Chicago, Philadelphia, Washington and Dallas/Fort Worth late this year or next year. Clearwire is expected to roll out Portland, Ore., Grand Rapids, Mich, Atlanta and Las Vegas, soon.

Clearwire is a joint venture between Sprint, TimeWarner Cable, Comcast, Intel and Google. But the deal has to be approved by the FCC and the shareholders first. FCC approval could come as soon as November 4th, while the Clearwire shareholder approval could happen on Nov 20th.

It couldn’t come soon enough for Portland’s Clearwire, which has an office near the old Spaghetti Factory. Clearwire has installed some 300 cell sites in the Portland region over the past year, but without the merger financing, it has had to scrounge for dollars. The company was forced to layoff all but a skeleton crew. Only 6 techs cover the Portland region, setting up Motorola base stations and checking the signal.

Their service, I was told by a Clearwire network engineer yesterday, will extend from Wilsonville to the south, Battleground to the North, Forest Grove to the West and Gresham to the East. It’s been estimated to cover some 1.2 million people in the Portland region. They plan to launch with the Nokia Internet tablet, Motorola CPE, and Intel WiMAX laptops.

Here’s Intel engineer Brent Elliot (video) showing how they test their system in Hillsboro. Clearwire completed the first phase of mobile WiMAX field trials in May, 2007. This summer, Clearwire moved from network testing in Portland to operational testing, the last phase of the trial before commercial launch.

Laptop Magazine performed some Speed Tests with the XOHM ExpressCard and found it about twice as fast as EVDO at the Baltimore Xohm launch.

I watched a speed test performed in the Clearwire truck. The technician used a Motorola PC card on a laptop inside the cab, which was connected to a Motorola base station some 1500 feet away. Running this speedtest website on a Firefox browser, showed 8.5Mbps down and 2.4 Mbps up.

No word on a Portland launch date. Everyone I talk to seems to be sworn to secrecy and paranoid about releasing any details. They refer me to Susan Johnston in Kirkland WA (425.216.7913)

Sprint and Clearwire plan to create a $14.5 billion joint venture to provide a national WiMax network. They expect 120 million to 140 million people will be covered by WiMax by the end of 2010. By comparison, AT&T and Verizon Wireless are supporting Long Term Evolution for fast wireless connections they believe could reach a mass market in 2011 to 2012.

Related WiMax stories on Dailywireless include; Xohm Marks the Spot, Chicago Xohmed Next?, WiMAX Doomed? Not., Mobile WiMAX: Fast, Cheap and Out of Control?, Mobile Data: Replacing Landline Broadband?, AT&T: No “Special Rights” for Clearwire, WiMAX Roundup, Cisco & Fujitsu Beamform Live Video, Motorola: People Get Ready, Barry West Talks, Intel + India’s BSNL = 100m WiMaxers, XOHM to Launch with Location Services, Denver Gets Fixed WiMAX, Clearwire: Retrofits Come First, Moscow WiMAXed, WiMAX Gets Cheaper – Theoretically, Clearwire: Anytime Now, WiMAX Roundup, Mobile WiMAX: Live in Idaho Falls, WiMAX: September in Baltimore, WiMAX Forum Certifies 2.5GHz Gear: Good to Go, Clearwire: We’re Gonna Be Big, Sprint: We’re the “3rd Pipe”, WiMax: East Meets West, Sprint: Samsung WiMAX Ready to Go, Battle of the (Muni) Bands, WiMAX: Cheap, Fast and Out of Control, It’s Official: Sprint, Cable & Google Building WiMAX Network, Mobile WiMAX Cooking- But Still in the Kitchen, WiMAX Roundup, Australia Unwired, Australian Blowup, BT’s European WiMAX Plan, Backhaul Delays Xohm Rollout, Hesse on WiMAX, Sprint’s WiMAX Rollout?, Sprint-Clearwire Deal Dead, Sprint Considering WiMAX Spinoff?, Sprint Forces Forsee Out, WiMAX Demoed on Chicago River, The Launch, ICO Wants Its Mobile TV – via DVB-SH, Google Apps for Clearwire, Sprint WiMAX: It’s Called “Xohm”, Xohm “Partners”?, Death to WiMAX?, Verizon: It’s LTE, and Sprint: It’s WiMAX!.

Posted by Sam Churchill on Tuesday, October 21st, 2008 at 12:42 pm .

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