Clearwire Kills Rover, Connects With TeleTech
The Rover devices and service were aimed at a younger audience and offered unlimited usage with rate plans for daily, weekly or monthly access without a contract. Users were offered a device choice of a WiMax USB stick or a 4G-enabled personal hot spot to get online.
The brand has been in existence for a little over a year. Clearwire sent out notices to customers today "to let you know that as of July 1, 2011, we no longer will sell Rover rate plans and services." (See Clearwire Pushes Pay-as-You-Go With Rover.) "The brand and the rate plans are going away. The device isn't going away; we're just going in a different direction," says a Clearwire spokesman.
"Existing Rover customers can be served under the Clear brand," he adds. "If they want to go month to month, they can do that."
Clear monthly plans start at $45. Daily access rates are $10, double what was initially offered on the Rover service.
Separately, the firm says that it will now use TeleTech for day-to-day customer care services for customers. Around 700 employees in Las Vegas and Milton, Fla., will immediately transition to TeleTech, while Clearwire will retain approximately 180 personnel between both locations for back-office operations.
The deal is similar to the seven-year managed service agreement that Clearwire struck with Ericsson AB (Nasdaq: ERIC) in May. That agreement saw 700 Clearwire network management staff transfer to Ericsson.
Why this matters The lonesome death of the Rover brand is likely to further please Clearwire majority owner, Sprint Corp. (NYSE: S), as its WiMax partner has now killed the only independent service it offers, other than the Clear brand, which it has already stopped pushing heavily in retail. It should be noted that Sprint also uses Ericsson for network management and TeleTech for customer care.
Any indication of closer ties between Sprint and Clearwire, meanwhile, will likely further anger the activist shareholders at Pardus Capital Management L.P., which has recently called for Clearwire to sell spectrum so that it can get the upper hand in its relationship with Sprint.
See more Read more on Clearwire's recent past below: