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« Need Spectrum? Come to Ireland... | Main | Swiss, Austrian WiMax Plans »

January 24, 2005

Clearwire Launches Fourth Market

By Nancy Gohring

Craig McCaw’s Clearwire launched service in Daytona Beach, Fla.: This new market follows Jacksonville, Fla.; Abilene, Texas; and St. Cloud, Minn. While Clearwire owns some MMDS licenses, it is offering the service in Daytona through an interesting agreement with a local college. Clearwire will pay the college $10,000 per month to use its wireless licenses. This story describes the college’s holdings as “16 microwave channels.” I’m guessing the college has Instructional Fixed Television Service, or ITFS, licenses. These licenses are in the same frequency range as MMDS but were given to schools and religious institutions. Those organizations can make deals with operators, as long as they continue to use some of the spectrum for educational purposes. In Daytona, the college will use 5 percent of the spectrum to offer Clearwire Internet services to faculty and staff.

The ITFS band became popular during the last big interest in MMDS. In fact, I remember attending a Wireless Communications Association conference where one of the keynote speakers was a priest from some area that controlled a lot of ITFS spectrum. He was there to discuss potential partnerships between such organizations and companies.

If you do some simple math, you’ll find that Clearwire needs 400 of its lowest cost customers (once the initial three-month $15 deal ends) to break even on just the licensing fee. Clearwire also employs 11 people in the Daytona area and plans to hire more. The network at launch covers 45,000 homes and will soon cover 65,000. I don’t know enough about the Daytona market to know what other kinds of competition Clearwire has there. However, Clearwire’s pricing for end users is quite good. I’d be glad to pay $25 a month for a 512 Kbps service (in fact, I’d pay twice that here in Dublin where it’s incredibly difficult to get any kind of broadband service.).

Posted by nancyg at January 24, 2005 11:24 AM

Categories: launches

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