Clearwire Pushes Pay-as-You-Go With Rover

Clearwire LLC (Nasdaq: CLWR) wants to enable "generation Y Internet addicts" to get online wirelessly for $20 a week with its new Rover pay-as-you-go service.

As expected, the Kirkland, Wash.-based company is launching a $149.99 WiMax "personal hotspot," called the "Rover Puck," that can connect up to eight WiFi-enabled devices to the mobile broadband signal. It is also throwing a $99.99 USB “Stick” modem into the mix. Service will cost $5 a day, $20 a week, and $50 a month. (See Clearwire Confirms Pay-As-You-Go Plans.)

The company was insistent that the new brand will have no hidden fees or data caps. "At Rover, unlimited means unlimited," says Seth Cummings, general manager of the Rover brand. Cummings has previously been a TV producer and a senior manager at Boost Mobile .

The service is being marketed at young people between ages 18 and 24 who have never known life without with the Internet, although the company believes that people outside of this demographic will also be interested in the service. "The prepaid segment is no longer limited to the credit challenged and those of limited means," says Mike Sievert, chief commercial officer at Clearwire. He claims that "simplicity" and the lack of a monthly bill will make the service attractive for a younger generation.

The company’s Clear service already has some prepaid options, but over 80 percent of its customers are on a two-year contract. Sievert and Cummings see the new brand as an extension of Clearwire’s "network of networks" strategy and a way to target at a specific youthful city-dwelling demographic.

To that end, the service isn’t launching with any dual-mode products, just gizmos that connect people to the WiMax network. The company says that it now has WiMax in 49 cities across the US.

The Rover products and top-up cards are now going on sale in stores in Houston and St. Louis. The service can also be bought nationwide at the new Rover site.

— Dan Jones, Site Editor, Light Reading Mobile

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