Clearwire, Comcast And Sprint Widen WiMax In Philly, Pittsburgh


Clearwire keeps chugging along in Comcast markets, as the two companies and Sprint Nextel announced expansions of Clearwire's WiMax high-speed wireless network in the Philadelphia and Pittsburgh metro areas.

In Philly, the 4G network now covers an additional 912,000 people since Clearwire's initial launch in the City of Brotherly Love on Oct. 22, 2009, bringing its coverage to more than 4.37 million people. 

Comcast, a minority investor in Clearwire, has a wholesale agreement to offer Clearwire's 4G service as Xfinity Internet 2go wireless broadband. The MSO's strategy is to offer the service as part of a bundle with its wireline broadband.

"Comcast continues to drive innovation in the market by giving customers ways to extend its services to anywhere they work, live and play," Eric Schaefer, senior vice president of sales and marketing for Comcast's Freedom Region, said in a statement. "The expansion of Xfinity Internet 2go in the Philadelphia Metro Area is another example of our focus in providing customers with an enhanced experience."

In Pittsburgh, Clearwire has added coverage for 10,591 people since the initial Sept. 30, 2010, market launch, now covering more than 830,000 people in the area.

Clearwire is majority-owned by Sprint with investments from Comcast, Time Warner Cable, Bright House Networks, Google and Intel.

As of the end of March, Clearwire had 6.15 million total subscribers, up more than sixfold from 971,000 subscribers in the first quarter of 2010. Of those, 4.86 million are wholesale subscribers, most of which are users of 3G/4G multimode devices, via Sprint, Comcast, TWC and others.

Clearwire expects to end 2011 with approximately 9.5 million subscribers, mostly through wholesale partners.

In May, Clearwire entered into a network management service agreement with Ericsson, which will handle day-to-day management of the Clearwire 4G network. As a result of the deal, about 700 Clearwire employees who had worked in network operations are expected to become Ericsson employees by the end of June.

Last week, Clearwire said it will transfer parts of its customer care operations to TeleTech Holdings, expanding an existing business partnership.

Under that deal TeleTech will be responsible for managing day-to-day customer care services for Clearwire customers. About 700 Clearwire employees in Las Vegas and Milton, Fla., are now TeleTech employees, while Clearwire will retain approximately 180 employees between both locations.