Broadband wireless service provider ClearWire (CLWR) Wednesday morning said its “Wimax” wireless service will be available not just in subscribers’ homes but as a card for a laptop, marking one of the first mobile Wimax product offerings in this country. Well, boutique research firm McAdams Wright Ragen, up in ClearWire’s home of Washington State, ponder the question of whether it’s priced too high relative to other broadband wireless offerings from, say, Sprint (NYSE:S). ClearWire, the implication seems to be, should be underpricing the big dogs in the market to gain ground as a newcomer.
Analyst Sid Parakh, who follows ClearWire for McAdams, says that the $59.99 price per month, although it is the same as Sprint’s plan, has a competitive advantage because ClearWire is faster than Sprint’s service. ClearWire says in its press release the PC card for laptops will offer bandwidth of 1.5 million bits per second, on average. That’s more than reports of around 1.2 mbps, tops, among users of Sprint’s Mobile Broadband. Parakh notes that ClearWire has the opportunity to sell a bundle of home and mobile access, at $79 to $95 per month, which Sprint can’t do until it gets its own Wimax network up and running.
Nonetheless, the new product won’t do much for ClearWire in the meantime, says Parakh: “However, it is safe to assume that the PC card is not going to help dramatically increase subscriber growth, and that the offering should be incrementally beneficial.”