Clearwire's Cryptic Customer Tease
Clearwire LLC (Nasdaq: CLWR) is boasting that it will be ready on Aug. 30 to unveil a "whole new customer segment," which could be related to a trademark that Clearwire has recently filed for, an as-yet-unannounced pocket MiFi-type device.
The Trademarkia search engine reveals that Clearwire filed a trademark claim for "Rover Puck" on March 4. The puck is described as a "portable wireless router for accessing broadband communications via the internet using personal electronic devices with built-in WiFi access capability anywhere in the access provider's wireless network."
Paul Kapustka, a longtime Clearwire watcher and editor of the wireless industry research site, Sidecut Reports, suggests to LR Mobile that a "prepaid MiFi service using the Rover Puck" is the most likely option. A poster on the Fierce Wireless message boards is also speculating that a prepaid service will be launched on Monday.
"A pre-paid tier could be a close relative to the month-to-month contract option that Clearwire has offered from the start," says Kapustka. "And making it easier to try the [WiMax] service without committing to a long contract is the best selling tool Clearwire has."
The second most likely option is the launch of dualmode smartphones that run on Sprint Corp. (NYSE: S)'s 3G network and Clearwire's WiMax in the cities that have the services. The company has said it would have such devices out by the end of the year.
Kapustka isn't expecting a wholesale customer announcement because Mike Sievert, the company's chief commercial officer, is heading up next week's press conference.
"Don't think Sievert would be announcing any wholesale deal since they have Teresa Elder for that division," Kapustka notes. "He is pretty much the consumer guy there."
Clearwire says it will reveal more on Monday.
— Dan Jones, Site Editor, Light Reading Mobile