When Sprint first announced a shift to LTE, we all knew it was a bad sign for Clearwire and their Clear mobile broadband network. Clear, a joint venture with Sprint, Bright House Networks, Comcast and Time Warner Cable, receives almost all of its 9.54 million subscribers through reseller agreements, mostly through Sprint. Well, that business model won't be viable much longer.
In addition to Sprint's transition to LightSquared's LTE network, the other 3 major investors have also announced a transition away from the network. Bright House Networks, Comcast and Time Warner Cable, who all purchased spectrum in the 2006 auctions, have pledged to lease that spectrum to Verizon Wireless in exchange for reseller agreements. Comcast, who currently offers Xfinity Internet2Go via Clear, will be moving that bundled service to Verizon Wireless, closing up its Clear partnership.
What does this mean for users of the resellers' technology? Hit the break to find out.
Comcast says they will give subscribers ample notice (I assume this is the beginning of that notice) and will offer to let subscribers move from one bundled service to another. While the numbers coming from Comcast might not be huge, currently around 30,000 on Clear, it is certainly a major indicator that Clear needs to rethink who they are and how they reach customers. Relying on reseller agreements is clearly not working for them, as everyone seems to be jumping ship. They are going to need to have a bigger national presence than a few kiosks in local malls and sales associates who are not trained.
As far as the Comcast transition, they plan to start offering the Verizon packages in 4 test markets beginning early next year as they experiment with hardware and plans. Time Warner and Bright House have yet to announce plans on how they will use this new partnership.
Does this transition affect you? Do you have a Comcast or Time Warner mobile broadband card? Have you avoided it because of Clear's network? Let us know in the comments below.