Clearwire drops Rover prepaid WiMAX brand

Clearwire (NASDAQ:CLWR) is dropping its Rover prepaid mobile WiMAX brand, a little more than eight months after it unveiled the youth-oriented brand. The company said it will replace the Rover brand with Clear-branded no-term contract service plans. 

Clearwire Rover Puck

Clearwire's Rover brand offer the Puck Wi-Fi hotspot.

"The personal hot spot category of products enable hundreds of Wi-Fi enabled products to access the Clearwire 4G network," Clearwire spokeswoman Susan Johnston told FierceWireless. "Rover provided us with the ability to test some new pay-as-you-go pricing options and was offered on a limited retail basis in a couple markets."

Johnston said that since Clearwire is always evaluating its products and looking for ways to improve and streamline offerings, and because the company expects double-digit growth from its retail business this year, it decided to drop the Rover brand. Johnston also said the company is confident that the new no-contract plans "should meet the needs of most of the Rover customer base."Checks with customer services representatives confirmed that Clearwire is no longer offering Rover plans or products.

Clearwire CFO Hope Cochran said in March the company planned to rework its retail strategy and that it expected to significantly reduce its customer-acquisition costs as a result. "We'll be looking at all the products and all the channels to see what works," she told FierceWireless at the time, while declining to discuss the fate of the Rover brand.

The Rover brand featured two devices: The Puck, a portable Wi-Fi hotspot that can connect up to eight devices at one time, and the Stick, a personal USB modem that connects to a notebook, laptop or desktop. Both products were WiMAX-only. The Puck sold for $149.99 and the Stick cost $99.99. Consumers could buy a monthly plan for $50 per month, a weekly plan at $20 per week or a daily plan for $5 per day.

Clearwire and majority owner Sprint Nextel (NYSE:S) resolved their wholesale pricing dispute last month and announced a revised deal in which Sprint will pay Clearwire $1 billion this year and in 2012. Clearwire reports first-quarter earnings today after the market closes.

For more:
- see this DSL Reports article

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