Clearwire’s (CLWR) 4G WiMAX technology is spreading faster than a cold in a day care center. Within the recent months coverage has increased by over fifty percent. Already laying claim to 74 markets in the United States, Clearwire is championing the 4G technology realm with gusto. These 74 markets span across the entire country in 25 different states.
A central point in this current 4G monopoly is the division of power of Clearwire Corporation. Sprint (S) is the majority shareholder by a mere 56+%, with Comcast (CMCSA), Intel (INTC) and Time Warner (TWX) holding modest, yet still significant shares too. Evidently, Clearwire has been sharing its network with its partners, as we have seen Sprint unroll a 4G nationwide network in the last few months. Even more interesting, however, is the release of 4G technology from Clearwire’s other partners.
Both Comcast and Time Warner have announced plans to launch their “respective 4G networks” alongside upcoming Clearwire launches. It is a tad bit perplexing from this point on. It has already been established that Sprint will, of course, be sharing Clearwire’s glory with each new launch, adding each budding network to its own collection. What seems to be irregular, however, is that Clearwire is going to be launching its 4G network in some of its biggest cities during the upcoming months, concurrent with its partners. Time Warner has already linked onto the highly anticipated NYC launch, and Comcast to San Francisco’s.
Is this counterproductive? At the times of these deployments Clearwire will still be the sole 4G technology provider in these given cities. It’s possible that Clearwire wants to give consumers the benefit of making a choice in their decisions. It may cause the money’s flow to deviate from the anticipated Clearwire 4G domination. These minority “partners” may make higher dividends in these select cities. But, on the other hand, dissatisfied customers may find comfort in the shelter of companies not directly under the Clearwire umbrella. When Verizon (VZ) and MetroPCS (PCS) launch into larger markets, they have an opening to steal many of the condensed consumers from Clearwire’s grip. If, however, Clearwire allows its partners an anchor in the fresh 4G market, all companies stand a better chance of keeping their customers.
Disclosure: Long S, Long CLWR, Long CMCSA, Long TWTC, Long VZ, Long PCS