Upstart WiMax provider clwr announced today that it will officially start selling CLEAR 4G in ten new markets on September first: Bellingham WA and Boise ID in the northwest, and eight more in Texas: Amarillo, Lubbock, Odessa/Midland, Wichita Falls, Waco, Killeen/Temple, Corpus Christi, and Abilene. That gives us a much better idea how they're going to launch in 80 markets by the end of 2010. Tier 1 markets are hard, they'll be rolled out one at a time. Tier 2 and 3 markets take a bit less effort and can be rolled out in groups.
I find the concentration in Texas quite interesting, as it 'fills in the map' before the anchor cities of Dallas/Ft.Worth, Houston, San Antonio, and Austin actually come online. When they do, Clearwire will have its first real regional power center. A customer in Baltimore sees an island of coverage, and in today's mobile society it is one that they spend a fair amount of time outside of. But soon in Texas customers in one market will be able to drive to another, and if they just throw in the highways then it will be one giant market. One with big holes still, but it's better than an island - and with WiMax's range it may be that those holes are more easily filled than a 3G one.
Why Texas? I'm guessing because it's one of few places where you have two key features: a) lots of people, and b) simple, relatively inexpensive geography. They've been working on it since last fall, it's nice to see it come to fruition,
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