Thursday, March 5, 2009

Can You Hear What I Hear, Can You See What I See?

Fellow Mobile Insiders

This evening, after spending most of the day catching up with long-time friends who are industry and financial analysts in our industry (people who actually know what's going on inside the mobile industry), I went to my favorite web sites to catch up on news and developments.

Many of these sites reported (again) about Mobile WiMAX big plan for the future and that "next year" it will be everywhere (something we have heard since 2004). The latest, Clearwire will spend $1.5B to build out more cities in US next year. Really? We believe this?

To quote an article I read, "Clearwire brought in about US$20.5 million in revenue and lost $118 million"".... which means that another $1.5B will be spent to secure another 1M subs over the next two years while burning millions of more cash every quarter? When are investors going to start asking serious questions about the business plan or lack thereof?

I continue to be surprised by such big plans -- which are void of any plans for profitability.

As a nationwide network technology option, mobile WiMAX is paddling behind the big smoky steamship and coughing from lack of Oxygen behind the "MS HSPA-LTE."  

Today, Nokia reinforced its support for LTE. Their support for WiMAX was over last October. Their strong support of HSPA and soon, LTE devices, means that Samsung will be next to debark the sinking (mobile) WiMAX ship. Please do not misunderstand the pragmatic criticism. I do not dislike Mobile WiMAX. The technology had its chance in 2004 and 2005 but failed to deliver.
On the bright side, Clearwire has spectrum which is a valuable asset to some operators. VZ, T-Mobile and AT&T will need more spectrum by 2011 in time for LTE build-outs. So, I question any serious intent to spend any Capex whatsoever. It's a bluff which is why they are slow-rolling any build-outs. So, if you can hear what I hear and see what I see, then do what Google and others have done, write-down (off) mobile WiMax and move on.


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