CHICAGO—Showing the world of consumers what they can do with WiMAX is the key, and that’s what Clearwire attempted to do in a video for the WiMAX World audience yesterday.
The video preceded a Q&A with Clearwire CEO Ben Wolff and Berge Ayvazian, chief strategy officer of the Yankee Group. Wolff was asked a range of questions, including how to get people excited about the service.
He said there are indicators out there already showing that people are interested in mobile broadband, including the rise in wireless data uptake. And if you consider all of the productivity gained as a result of wireline broadband and put that in the palm of your hand, the opportunities are “exponential,” he said.
In the 46 markets where it already launched, the company has found that about two-thirds of its customers had cable or DSL prior. “We have always thought the residential broadband business was the first step in the evolution” of its services.
Into the future, will Clearwire be a competitor or a partner with its cable company partners? Both, he said. “We will continue to compete with our cable partners,” including as they resell the Clearwire service. At the same time, “there’s an awful lot of collaboration going on,” he said.
Its work with Google is three-fold. Google offers the Android platform and the open network component; Clearwire is working with Google to develop applications that take advantage of 4G; and Google is a partner on search and advertising.
Despite the financial markets’ turmoil the past two weeks, he shared the optimism that members of the audience displayed with a raise of hands earlier in the session. “As an industry, we’re in the right place at the right time,” he said, adding that he couldn’t name a time in history where there’s so much pent-up demand for WiMAX.
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