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Clearwire now passes 205m US, 117m European customers: In their revised filing today for an initial public offering of stock, the company reveals their current spectrum holding position. A month ago, they were coy, probably in anticipation of this filing. When I spoke to two heads of the firm for their Greater Seattle area, I asked if the 90m people passed figure was accurate, wondering about their competitive position relative to Sprint, which claims over 100m people (not households) will be offered their “4G” mobile WiMax service by the end of 2008. Co-CEO Ben Wolf said, “Spectrum footprint dramatically larger than what you referenced earlier,” meaning bigger than 90m people. (This comparison is tricky, because Sprint has discussed deployment footprint, not license holdings.)
On page 3 and 55 of the S1 filing, the company notes that they now own 11.5b MHz-POPs in the U.S. (2.5 GHz band) covering 205m people, and 5.1b MHz-POPs in Europe, covering 117m people. This excludes the recent German auction which adds coverage of 82.5m people, as the licenses were both large (21 MHz each for uplink and downlink) and national. (MHz-POPs are megahertz times population—spectrum bands in megahertz multiplied by local population.) They still have to complete deals that represent a portion of these holdings, they note.
The company also reveals some of their technical decisions on deployment on pages 55-56. They require at least six channels of 5 MHz each to launch service in an area. But they predict that mobile WiMax will provide ever increasing spectral efficiency—both as an evolution in the standard and over their current, proprietary, NextNet technology—resulting in launches that might involve fewer licenses. But they also note that “we could find that new technologies and subscriber usage patterns require us to have more spectrum available in our markets.”
Clearwire currently has deployed service to areas that comprise about 8.5m people in the U.S. and 1m in Europe. But they claim just 188,000 subscribers so far. [link via GigaOm]
Posted by Glennf at December 19, 2006 9:48 AM