Sponsored By

Roberts Clearer on Clearwire Strategy

Comcast's CEO lays down the reasons why he likes his deal with the new Clearwire

Jeff Baumgartner

May 29, 2008

2 Min Read
Roberts Clearer on Clearwire Strategy

So, why did Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK) find religion on WiMax and opt to pour more than $1 billion into the new Clearwire LLC (Nasdaq: CLWR) venture?

Comcast's name sits alongside Sprint Corp. (NYSE: S), Google (Nasdaq: GOOG), Intel Capital , and a cadre of other major cable MSOs participating in the re-creation of Clearwire announced earlier this month. (See Sprint, Clearwire Create $14.5B WiMax Giant, Cable Plays Clearwire Card, and Mobile WiMax.)

It was one of several topics Comcast chairman and CEO Brian Roberts addressed this morning at the Sanford C. Bernstein & Co. Inc. Strategic Decisions Conference in New York.

For starters, Comcast is getting a nice wholesale-laden "founders deal" for its 7 percent, $1.5 billion investment, and the partners involved all have a desire "to create a, wow, better-than, not a me-too, high-speed experience for a variety of applications," Roberts said.

Roberts said he became a believer partly due to a Clearwire WiMax demo that served up video as he and his test group zipped down the road at 50 miles per hour.

He also talked up the assets of the deal, including 150 MHz per market of "virgin spectrum," and stressed that the 2G/3G/4G roaming component of the deal helped to offset the other wireless/mobile options Comcast was considering.

"The speed may vary, but connectivity remains," he said. "That roaming function was critical to get the venture moving."

But what about all of those partners? Might too many cooks in the kitchen spoil what they're trying to cook up with WiMax?

No, Roberts said, because of the wholesale nature of the deal, which allows the partners to bill, sell, market, authenticate, bundle, and brand the service however they so choose.

"There was no opportunity out there quite as elegant," Roberts proclaimed.

At least it had better be more elegant that the recently trashed "Pivot" joint venture with Sprint. (See MSOs Pivoting Away From Sprint JV.)

— Jeff Baumgartner, Site Editor, Cable Digital News

About the Author(s)

Jeff Baumgartner

Senior Editor, Light Reading

Jeff Baumgartner is a Senior Editor for Light Reading and is responsible for the day-to-day news coverage and analysis of the cable and video sectors. Follow him on X and LinkedIn.

Baumgartner also served as Site Editor for Light Reading Cable from 2007-2013. In between his two stints at Light Reading, he led tech coverage for Multichannel News and was a regular contributor to Broadcasting + Cable. Baumgartner was named to the 2018 class of the Cable TV Pioneers.

Subscribe and receive the latest news from the industry.
Join 62,000+ members. Yes it's completely free.

You May Also Like