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What's Up in the WiMax Wholesale Market?

Kaps Korner
Kaps Korner
Kaps Korner
4/30/2010

5:25 PM -- It's great to see that Sprint Corp. (NYSE: S), Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK), and Time Warner Cable Inc. (NYSE: TWC) all think very highly of the WiMax services they are reselling from partner Clearwire. It'd be even better for those of us following the industry if they would shed some numerical light on how well those efforts are going.

In earnings calls this past week, both Sprint and Comcast passed up the opportunity to put a number on their wholesale WiMax subscriptions. Is that because the number is still too low to be impressive? Or too small to matter from a financial point of view?

Those cynical guesses, unfortunately, are all we are left with when companies like Sprint and Comcast decide not to break out numbers on a market segment that they also spend a lot of time publicizing. A small bit of clarity might come during Clearwire's May 4 earnings call, since Clearwire did break out wholesale numbers last quarter. But any wholesale numbers revealed by Clearwire are likely to be in aggregate, so we'll still have no way of knowing how well Sprint's year of 4G is doing so far. C'mon Dan Hesse -- put some numbers behind that 4G talk.

Clearwire's new maps need customer input
It was great to see Clearwire raise the bar for potential wireless consumers by adding real network data to its "coverage" maps on Clear.com. While we hope such truth-in-advertising puts pressure on the big carriers to make a similar move, we'd like to see even more transparency from Clearwire, which should allow its users to add their real-life speed tests to the mapping mix.

Independent efforts to provide consumer-based performance maps are already underway, so it makes sense for a carrier like Clearwire to get out in front of the game and engender support by making its users part of its marketing. Otherwise, the risk is that your users build their own maps outside your purview -- and you may not like what they have to say, and you won't have any way to respond.

Boston gets WiMax next?
Sounds like our pal Jeff Baumgartner, listening to the Comcast call this past week, uncovered the next Clearwire WiMax market to get a green light: Boston, if we are to believe Comcast, which said it will start reselling Clearwire's WiMax there later this quarter. Only problem, Clearwire hadn't announced Boston's launch date yet. But I guess it has now.

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

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