Intel, Google, Cable Co's Give US WiMax A New Lease On Life (In The Form Of $3.2 Billion)

from the let's-try-this-again dept

A bunch of the worst kept secrets in the wireless broadband world have finally come together. No one ever really believed that Sprint and Clearwire would fully break off their WiMax agreement. It simply made too much sense for them to get back together. At the same time, everyone also knew that Comcast and Time Warner were talking to Sprint to help fund WiMax in order to get a wireless pipe with which to compete with the telcos. And... oh yeah, given how much money Intel had pumped into WiMax to make everyone think it just had to be the next generation wireless system, there was no way it was going to let Sprint and Clearwire's WiMax plans collapse. Finally, toss in the fact that Google was known to be interested in Sprint's WiMax plans, and it's not hard to figure out what is actually happening...

Yes, indeed, Intel, Google, Comcast and Time Warner are teaming up to pump $3.2 billion into a joint venture that would merge Sprint and Clearwire's WiMax operations under the Clearwire brand name. This is certainly no surprise given all the earlier stories, but given how many problems have surrounded WiMax as well as earlier attempts for the cable companies to offer wireless services, don't expect this new venture to go smoothly right from the beginning. That doesn't mean it's not the right thing to do. Most of the companies involved didn't really have much of a choice but to do this. Of course, in all this mess, Sprint and Clearwire squandered a portion of the lead they held over AT&T and Verizon. While it will still take a while for AT&T and Verizon to get LTE plans into motion, all this futzing by Sprint and Clearwire took away some of the huge lead it should have had.

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  • identicon
    alaric, 7 May 2008 @ 6:55am

    I'm skeptical

    The US cellular market is already saturated and this enterprise will launch a system that operates in a high frequency and one that is link budget (range) impaired.

    What happens to the existing sprint? Do they become a competitor to the new joint venture?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Dave's Football Blog, 7 May 2008 @ 6:59am

    Two words...

    Quadruple Play.

    This is how Comcast and Time Warner will be able to offer mobile phone services to their customers. Whether WiMax VoIP actually works as well as the current mobile services remains to be seen, but this is an obvious inroad to that.

    Oh, and chances are all the new WiMax phones will come with Android.

    Of course, I still won't jump on, because Time Warner won't play nice with NFL Network or offer me Setanta Sports, but there you go.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Industry Analyst, 8 May 2008 @ 11:08am

    Gimme a break--Voice?

    This is by no means a cellular/voice play. WiMAX is going to be about serving, initially, mobile computer users. Laptop-on-WiMAX rather than laptop-on-3G.

    Here's the way it'll probably go: Cable companies offer mobile (or portable) data access via WiMAX to their existing cable modem customers; No new billing systems, low customer acquisition costs and little marketing effort. "Like your cable modem? Make it portable for $10 extra per month"

    Mobile VoIP over WiMAX as a challenge for cellular? Why bother? Cellular's there, it works and a cellular company is a partner.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Alaric, 8 May 2008 @ 1:57pm

    RE:Gimme a break--Voice?

    Voice account for roughly 75% of mobile service revenues today. The new clearwire cannot succeed without mobile voice.

    $10 per month per sub is not going to pay for the WiMAX netork or make this new clearwire a profitable venture. Data services only will also not pay for this network because the market for data services is too smart

    Nor will sprint be in a good position if it loses its 100% owned sub for a 51% WiMAX sub.

    Voice is still king. NO Data-only mobile carrier has ever succeeded.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Kevin, 19 Aug 2008 @ 11:01am


    And while all of this has been going on Towerstream has been flying under everyones radar and providing WiMax services for the Past 8 years. Why is everyone so interested in these companies getting together to provide a service that Towerstream is already providing. Towerstream didn't have to make this big huge joint venture to get off the ground. And what really gets you is these companies want to put together a 3.2 billion dollar joint venture, where do you think the money for something is going to come from? I can tell you it will be the customers paying heavily so these companies can recoup their out of the pocket costs to get this up and running.
    Plain and simple Why wait? Get a faster, safer, more reliable connection, that is fully scalable and completly symmetrical now at a fraction of the cost. Its truly redundant and even comes with a 99.99% uptime guarantee. Who else is going to offer something like that?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

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