Clearwire (NASDAQ:CLWR) added kid-focused, no-contract MVNO Kajeet to its roster of wholesale customers. Meantime, MVNO Karma officially launched service this week on Clearwire's network. Together, the deals represent another step Clearwire is taking to expand its list of partners beyond Sprint Nextel (NYSE:S), Clearwire's majority owner and largest wholesale customer.
Kajeet will take advantage of Clearwire's mobile WiMAX network to "help keep young people connected to friends, family, school and the other social, educational and community services that they engage with every day." Kajeet said it will launch WiMAX-based products to help parents keep track of their kids' Internet usage and teachers bring wireless to the classroom.
Clearwire's deal with Kajeet includes the option for Kajeet to take advantage of Clearwire's forthcoming TD-LTE network, which it plans to deploy on 2,000 cell sites by mid-2013.
Separately, Karma officially launched service on Clearwire's network, offering a $79 mobile hotspot device and 1 GB of free WiMAX data to get users started on its service. After that first allotment of data is used, Karma allows its customers to buy data as they go, charging $14 per 1 GB. Customers must log in and create an account via Facebook (NASDAQ:FB). A blog entry from company co-founder Robert Gaal explained the company's target market as "people born on the Web." He said the company's Social Bandwidth approach encourages customers to share bandwidth with the public via Wi-Fi.
Sprint remains Clearwire's largest wholesale customer. However, Clearwire appears keen to add new customers after losing Comcast and Time Warner Cable to Verizon Wireless (NYSE:VZ).
Specifically, MVNO H2O Wireless, which also works with AT&T Mobility (NYSE:T), has been reselling Clearwire's WiMAX service since February. And in March Cricket provider Leap Wireless (NASDAQ:LEAP) inked a wholesale deal to use Clearwire's LTE network. Voyager Mobile, FreedomPop and Jolt Mobile have all recently signed on as Clearwire MVNOs.
- see this Kajeet release
- see this Social Bandwidth blog post
Clearwire and Sprint: Still the same old song and dance
Investor: Clearwire should sell excess spectrum for $9B
Clearwire touts spectrum holdings, Softbank alignment
Clearwire CEO: 60% of our network traffic is video
Clearwire slashes LTE deployment target from 5,000 sites to 2,000 sites