Comcast Maxes Out in Portland
Cable company Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK) has become the first of Clearwire LLC (Nasdaq: CLWR)'s partners to launch a service piggybacking on the carrier's mobile WiMax platform in Portland, Ore.
Comcast today unveiled its first "High-Speed 2go" market, saying that it kicks off the nationwide launch of the offering, which will offer a choice of broadband wired or wireless connectivity to potential customers. (See Comcast Boots Up 'High-Speed 2go'.)
The bundled package is what the cableco can offer above and beyond the standard Clearwire WiMax offering. The MSO has a $49.99 "Fast Pack Metro," which includes Comcast’s 12-Mbit/s home Internet service, a free WiFi router for the home, and the WiMax service. For $20 more per month, Comcast is also offering access to Sprint Corp. (NYSE: S)'s 3G network nationwide.
The plan comes with a free WiMax modem for customers that sign a one-year commitment, or they can buy their own card for $99. A dual-mode 3G and WiMax modem costs $50 with a one-year commitment, or $230 without. The service provider is expected to add WiMax femtocells to the mix in 2009 or 2010. (See WiMax Femtos: The Comcast Question and Comcast Goes for WiMax Femtocells.)
Comcast is the first of Clearwire's partners to launch a mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) service on top of one of Clearwire's own WiMax markets. In Baltimore, Sprint Corp. (NYSE: S) has its own WiMax network, which will be relaunched under the "Clear" brand later this year, but Sprint isn't yet offering dual-mode 3G and WiMax services in any of the other Clearwire markets. (See Sprint: How Soon Is '4G Now'?)
Clearwire has switched on WiMax service in Atlanta, Portland, and Las Vegas so far. It is expected to have nine markets online by the end of 2009. (See Clearwire Goes Live in Atlanta.)
Comcast says it will follow Clearwire's lead in deploying markets. "You can assume where they go, so will we," a spokesperson says. Comcast plans to launch in a couple more cities this year.
Other cable MSOs partnered up with Clearwire include Time Warner Cable Inc. (NYSE: TWC) and Bright House Networks . (See Cable Plays Clearwire Card.)
– Dan Jones, Site Editor, Unstrung