We have recently conducted a survey to determine into which geographies Clearwire service is expanding. We realize that Clearwire shows expansion cities on their website but these only include Syracuse, NY; Nashville, TN and Dayton, OH now.
Our survey covered over 40 cities and we asked the following questions:
Do you offer Clearwire Service in my area?
If no, when will you?
Do I need special equipment to receive Clearwire service?
The survey results were interesting to us as respondents from Syracuse told us Clearwire service is available there now. We also got responses that service was available in Cleveland, OH (not projected on Clearwire site) and that service would soon be available in Virginia Beach, VA (also not projected on Clearwire site). Houston residents can likely expect Clearwire service soon as we were told that service is up and running in Corpus Christi, TX (another city only shown as projected on the Clearwire site) and that Houston would have service likely in early fall 2007. We note that Houston is not shown as a projected city by Clearwire.
Why would Clearwire run ahead of roll-out plans? We believe that Clearwire is offering service early in cities to gain subscriber momentum, to test our network operations and to make a positive impression on financial backers as the company continues to expand and spend large sums of money on capital expenditures. The advance deployments versus publicly communicated plans could also be intended to help beat subscriber growth target expectations of shareholders and analysts.
Consumers will need customer premise equipment from Clearwire. The communication on this topic from Clearwire representatives is mixed. We believe that they should answer “yes” to consumers asking about the need for special equipment since the service cannot work without Clearwire specific hardware. Only 25 our of 44 Clearwire customer service representatives we spoke with told us we needed a modem from Clearwire which we could buy or rent. The other 19 told use we did not need any new equipment. This is not a major problem but could cause some poor customer experiences for new users in new markets.
Our view from the survey is that Clearwire service is being expanded faster than is publicly discussed by the company and that this expansion is likely to produce strong subscriber growth metrics when Clearwire reports 2Q and 3Q results.