CTIA 2009: Clearwire's Silicon Valley Sandbox

CTIA Wireless 2009 -- LAS VEGAS -- Clearwire LLC (Nasdaq: CLWR) says it has hit on a new way to stimulate the creation of applications for mobile WiMax -- build developers a massive, and free, "sandbox" to play in right in the heart of the U.S. tech industry, Silicon Valley.

The Kirkland, Wash.-based operator's co-chairman, Ben Wolff, unveiled the plan in this morning's keynote at the CTIA Wireless show here in Viva Las Vegas. Clearwire is working with long-time partners Google (Nasdaq: GOOG) and Intel Corp. (Nasdaq: INTC), as well as networking giant Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO), on the project.

"This is a 20 square-mile sandbox that is going to give people the ability to develop applications that we can’t even imagine yet," Wolff told the crowd.

Clearwire president and chief architect, Barry West, told Unstrung later in the day that the company needed to built the network so that developers can get access to WiMax and unique mobile features such as GPS satellite positioning "in the real world."

Wolff at the Door The "Silicon Valley WiMax Innovation Network" will cover the Cisco, Google, and Intel campuses as part of its Southern Bay Area catchment region. "They will be working on getting coverage within their campuses," says Wolff of Clearwire's three partners.

A Clearwire statement also says Cisco, Google, and Intel will supply core "IP Next-Generation Network" (IP NGN) infrastructure for the project. What's not yet clear is if the partners will supply any additional funding for the project: Unstrung hopes to be able to update readers on that question soon.

Service on the network is expected to be available to selected developers by late summer of this year, giving them a head start on the Clearwire commercial service expected to launch in the Bay Area in 2010.

All Clear on the WiMax Front
Wolff didn't add much color to the operator's "Clear" WiMax deployment network plans. The goal is still to cover more than 80 markets and 120 million people by the end of 2010. (See Clearwire Preps $1.5B Deployment in '09.)

The chairman, however, did provide some select WiMax device updates. "There's more than 30 laptop and notebook computers out there today and we expect that number to go up," he said. "More than a hundred devices will have an embedded WiMax chipset by the end of the year.

He then showed off the Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. (Korea: SEC) and Clear Spot WiMax-to-WiFi router. (See WiMax Gizmos Galore!)

Wolff took his typically neutral approach to the debate over which technology, Long-Term Evolution or mobile WiMax, will win the battle to become 4G technology proper. "The DNA of these two technologies is about 85 percent the same," Wolff noted.

He did note, however, that the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) is recommending specific amounts of spectrum available for fourth-generation network deployments. "Ideally, 100 Mhz, 40 Mhz at a minimum," Wolff said.

This may have been a sly dig at Clearwire's next-gen rivals in the U.S., AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) and Verizon Wireless , which have each have 20-something MHz of 700 MHz spectrum to deploy proto-4G networks. Clearwire meanwhile has a 100 MHz of 2.5 GHz spectrum for its deployment. (See AT&T & Verizon to Use 700 MHz for 4G .)

— Dan Jones, Site Editor, Unstrung

freetoair 12/5/2012 | 4:07:52 PM
re: CTIA 2009: Clearwire's Silicon Valley Sandbox

"Build a massive and free WiMAX sandboc to play-in to spur WiMAX application development"

The Mobile OS's / devices need to support WiMAX radio but the applications are developed to the Mobile OS not to the network. Yes one could argue that if WiMAX delivers some significantly greater bandwidth, QoS, etc. that some higher performance or demanding applications could be enabled.

But if goal is to drive WiMAX applications development then:

 1) get WiMAX radios in iPhone, Blackberry, Nokia

     OK so that is not moving too quickly since there are no networks/subs

 2) Get the Network installed and some subs

     Argh that chiken and egg thing with 1)

So I amnot really sure what his point is? Blanket Cisco/Google/Intel with WiMAX. Well most of Intel staff is in Portland and they already are covered. Hmm how many Google / Cisco staff are working on WiMAX in San Jose? Very few.

If the actual RF is needed for Development and Testing that is easily provided with Cabled RF from captive basestation.

So I think this is jsut PR blather. Am I missing something?

vsomanv 12/5/2012 | 4:07:51 PM
re: CTIA 2009: Clearwire's Silicon Valley Sandbox WiMAX would live for sometime, until Verizon comes up with its LTE pan America

mobileinsider 12/5/2012 | 4:07:51 PM
re: CTIA 2009: Clearwire's Silicon Valley Sandbox

I agree with the first 2 posts. Very simply put, great idea! But, this campaign is 2-3 years too late. WiMAX in Silicon valley is DOA. RIP


layneincalif 12/5/2012 | 4:07:51 PM
re: CTIA 2009: Clearwire's Silicon Valley Sandbox We have heard this for years now... "Clearwire plans to reach 120 million U.S. residents with a national WiMAX network by the end of next year"

Nokia (NYSE: NOK) has panned the prospects of 4G wireless standard WiMAX, comparing its fate to Betamax, the early video format that emerged in the 1970's and was superseded by VHS. The FT.com reports that Nokia's head of sales and manufacturing Anssi Vanjoki said at a launch event that he didn't see WiMAX taking hold anywhere in a big way. He said, "I don't think the future is very promising [for WiMAX]. This is a classic example of industry standards clashing, and somebody comes out as the winner and somebody has to lose. Betamax was there for a long time, but VHS dominated the market. I see exactly the same thing happening here."

It's especially harsh considering that the handset giant is usually much more circumspect about the comments and criticism it makes. It also still has a seat on the board of the WiMAX Forum, the industry group that was set up to promote the technology and which Nokia was a founding member.

EtherLinx could have done this with Long Range WiFi at a fraction of the money already sunk in WiMAX. EtherLinx Long Range WiFi (up to 50 miles) has over One (1) Billion compatible client devices in the consumer market, vs. the case of "only about 30 devices" with WiMAX. WiFi is now the faster of the two technologies and WiFi devices will not only connect to the network, but interconnect directly with hundreds of different devices in the home, office, car and public space GÇö some computing devices in their own right, others ordinary household objects.

EtherLinx "Wireless Broadband's Holy Grail"

The solution to "get true broadband to every community in America" with Low Cost Long Range ubiquitous WiFi.

vsomanv 12/5/2012 | 4:07:50 PM
re: CTIA 2009: Clearwire's Silicon Valley Sandbox Dan and Phil,

When do we get to see the LR Asia Tab to start with, and an LR India Tab Subsequently..

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