If that is the case, what would be the "right" cities in which to launch? I tend to agree with a reader who wrote that Clearwire should be going for bigger cities, Chicago in particular. (See CES: Intel – We 'Still Believe in WiMax'.)
In fact, I have a list of the best cities for Clearwire's 2009 in mind: Chicago, Boston, Las Vegas, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Dallas, and Atlanta.
Why these metropolitan centers in particular? Well I think that Clearwire has to hit a major list of conference and tradeshow towns to be in with a chance of getting bigger in 2010-2012.
This might attract people who absolutely want and need high-speed laptop connections -- business travelers I suppose you'd call them -- the kind of people who have WiFi and a couple of 3G cards now, whom you see hunched over their laptops in airports and convention centers across the U.S. trying to email reports and PowerPoints back to HQ.
If they knew that they could get Wimax in any of the major convention cities they traveled to, I can see that upping the prospects of individuals -- and maybe even companies -- buying in a WiMax card and some kind of monthly plan.
It still wouldn't be easy for Clearwire. Most of these cities present unique RF engineering challenges, and getting good and stable coverage from a new network is never easy -- let alone paying tower rent, land rights, and everything else that goes into the cost of a network.
Still, I think Clearwire has to get out ahead of Verizon Wireless and LTE in these markets to be in the game in 2010 and 2011 -- although you'd have to be somewhat naïve to assume that the cellular big guns won't face their own set of setbacks and challenges deploying LTE on 700MHz. (See '4G' Delays Ahead?) — Dan Jones, Site Editor, Unstrung