Clearwire – Profile
HQ: Kirkland, WA
Management: CEO and Chairman is Craig McCaw… ’nuff said. He’s the Mack-Daddy of the wireless world.
Investors: Intel invested an undisclosed sum in October. Company closed a round of $160 million from a group of 23 undisclosed investors in August.
Business Model: Taking the Wi-Fi concept to another level, McCaw’s company is pushing the 802.16e WiMax standard. Think of it as Wi-Fi over a much larger range. Service is now available to over 120,000 homes in an area of over 100 square miles, in Jacksonville, Fla.
Look Ma! No wires!
Competitors: Telcos and Cable companies offering Internet access.
Dirt: Now that Intel has its hands on this deal, there’s no turning back. As an IDC analyst told the Seattle P-I: “Intel is a very, very big name and Craig McCaw is a big name, so when the two get together, people should pay attention, don’t you think?” Yes, we think so. McCaw is highly secretive – and highly independent. He wouldn’t be bringing Intel in on this unless the terms were good. However, the scope of this project gives us pause. Roll-outs in obscure cities remind of disasters like @Home and Time-Warner’s first efforts at video-on-demand. Incumbent DSL and Cable providers have already dumped millions of marketing dollars into these market – is McCaw really up to the challenge?