Clearwire launched retail services for its mobile WiMAX play in a handful of new markets, and CEO Bill Morrow reiterated hopes that the company might expand its roster of wholesale partners. Additionally, Morrow promised WiMAX smartphones by Christmas of 2010.
Clearwire rolled out retail services in Chicago, the Seattle metro area, Honolulu and Maui as well as markets in North Carolina and Texas--markets in which the company had previously announced services. More importantly though, Morrow said Clearwire--which just received $920 million in new debt financing--could ink deals with new resellers. Sprint Nextel, Comcast and Time Warner Cable currently offer WiMAX services through partnerships with Clearwire.
"We are talking to all of them," Morrow said in an interview with mocoNews. "We are talking to carriers, cable operators, phone [landline] companies and satellite. We welcome everyone on ... It's good for Clearwire." During Clearwire's third quarter earnings conference call, Morrow said that the company is "ramping up our systems to be able to support even more wholesale customers."
Morrow also addressed one of the big hurdles Clearwire faces in achieving mass market success: the relative dearth of compelling devices. He acknowledged the company currently is focused on laptops and data cards, but noted it will add WiMAX-capable smartphones in the second half of next year. "I wouldn't count on it by summer, but before Christmas," he said.
The comments echo those made by Sprint Nextel CEO Dan Hesse, who told FierceWireless in October that Sprint, which owns a majority take in Clearwire and is a wholesale partner of the company, would launch dual-mode 3G/4G phones next year.
So what does the future hold for Clearwire? Pike & Fischer predicted the company stands to grow its WiMAX customer base in the U.S. to roughly 600,000 by the end of 2010, and will generate revenues of up to $580 million.
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