Thursday, May 08, 2008

Clearwire, Sprint, Intel and Google shoot for mobile Internet access

We discuss mobile connectivity. Today, third generation cellular is the most common means of mobile connectivity, but wireless communication using WiMAX technology is becoming available for both fixed and mobile applications.

Sprint and Clearwire have planned WiMAX deployment for some time, but they have now formed a new company and taken in strategic partners Intel and Google. The new venture, also called Clearwire, plans to be available to between 120 and 140 million people by 2010. That is only about 40 percent of the US, but it is significant.

Intel is a leading WiMAX hardware vendor. Today's laptops usually have WiFi radios for local area connectivity, and Intel wants tomorrow's laptops to also have WiMAX chips for wide area connectivity. Google is interested in mobile computing and wants their applications, Youtube videos and ads to be on every cell phone and mobile Internet access device.

If you could get high speed mobile access using a handheld device like an Apple iPhone, what would you use it for? How much would you be willing to pay for the mobile service? Would you want your phone to be separate from your Internet access device?

Clearwire hopes to be available to 40% of the US population by 2010 -- which areas will get service first?