This Week in WiMax

12:35 PM -- This week in WiMax, here are the big issues, as I see them:

Clearwire's 2010: a search for 3,770 subscribers per day
By now you may have heard that Clearwire LLC (Nasdaq: CLWR) had a boffo fourth quarter, not only meeting its pre-set goals of signing up more subscribers in the last 90 days of 2009 than it did the entire year beforehand, but it also went out on a limb for 2010, with CEO Bill Morrow pledging to triple the WiMax service provider's overall subscriber numbers by the year's end, to a number just north of 2 million subscribers.

While we have broken down the numbers on Clearwire in extremely granular fashion over at our other outlet, for our purposes here there is just one big number to focus on: 3,770, which is roughly the number of new subscribers Clearwire needs to sign up every day of 2010 if it wants to meet its ambitious 2 million-plus goal. How will Clearwire make that big number? For the answer we may need to turn to another number -- 46,000, which is the number of wholesale subscribers signed up for Clearwire by its reseller partners during 2009 -- and watch it grow during 2010.

From the early reviews, it seems like Clearwire majority owner Sprint Corp. (NYSE: S) will be the big marketing force behind WiMax in 2010, as it pushes its "4G" advantage over the other big wireless carriers, Verizon Wireless and AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T). On the cable side, both Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK) and Time Warner Inc. (NYSE: TWX) seem enthused by their early forays into reselling Clearwire's service; all of the above may be even more jazzed when the supposed WiMax/3G/WiFi smartphone appears later this year, with all of their WiMax-related sales ending up on Clearwire's subscriber number bottom line.

As for Clearwire itself, it has another big market launch coming soon in Houston, but we don't expect to see the rest of the company's 2010 launch cities, like New York and San Francisco, go live until later in the year. So the big question becomes, can Clearwire's wholesale partners and existing big markets (Chicago, Philly, Dallas) ramp up to 3,770 new subs a day? That's something we'll be watching closely as the year progresses.

Need to know more about Clearwire's network? Our latest report takes a look at Clearwire's innovative backhaul strategy, its open-Internet core network, and its spectrum depth assets -- and it's free to download! Just visit this link to get your copy today. Also available now for free download is our "WiMax Business Deployment Guide."

— Paul Kapustka is the founder and editor of Sidecut Reports, a WiMax analysis site and research service. He can be reached at [email protected]. Special to Unstrung.

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