World Telecom Group (WTG) in July became the first national business-to-business master agent to sell CLEAR, a mobile WiMAX service offered by Clearwire Communications LLC, an operating subsidiary of Clearwire Corp., (CLWR).
Clearwire is engaged in a multiyear network buildout to make its 4G wireless service available to 80 U.S. markets covering up to 120 million people by the end of 2010.
CLEAR already is available in Atlanta; Baltimore; Las Vegas; and Portland, Ore. Beginning Sept. 1, the service is coming to Boise, Idaho; Bellingham, Wash.; and eight Texas markets, including Abilene, Amarillo, Corpus Christi, Killeen/Temple, Lubbock, Midland/Odessa, Waco and Wichita Falls. Additional markets planned to launch in 2009 include Chicago, Charlotte, Dallas/Ft. Worth, Honolulu, Philadelphia and Seattle. In 2010, the company plans to bring the service to New York, Boston, Washington D.C., Houston and the San Francisco Bay Area.
Although CLEAR has been more of a consumer product to date, WTG will be focused on pitching the SMB market for mobility solutions, and in some cases primary bandwidth, and larger enterprises for business continuity/disaster recovery solutions.
WTG agents will be focusing on the CLEAR mobile and business products. The former is priced at $40 for the 2GB service, $50 for unlimited bandwidth and $10 for a day pass, at speeds of 4mbps downstream and 1mbps upstream.
CLEAR business-focused fixed wireless service is running at $55 monthly for fast business Internet (3mbps down and 550kbps up), and $75 monthly for faster business Internet (6mbps down and 1mbps up). Shared mobile Internet services also are available and range from 15GB to 30GB packages at $75 to $125 monthly respectively, which can be shared across employees. These products have the same down and up speeds as the fixed plans.
Finally, there is a Combo plan option allowing the customer to choose two products. For example, the customer can use 2GB mobile at the office and the Fast Internet option at home; or the customer can just use 2GB mobile times two. The combo plan is $55 per month, or $65 per month for the unlimited bandwidth version. Speeds are up to 3mbps up, or 6mbps up for unlimited, and 1mbps down.
WTG will pay up to five times the MRC on CLEAR sales, along with a small residual. WTG agents can begin selling CLEAR immediately, and WTG will be offering training in August.
Vince Bradley, president and CEO of WTG, said the master agency’s plan is to attack the first three markets where Clearwire service is available – Atlanta, Portland and Las Vegas. He noted the Las Vegas market, which cut over Aug. 1, will be a primary target, citing the opportunity to sell to large hotels that can offer CLEAR services to guests, for example.
“Back in the late ’90s when WTG became a wireless distributor for Sprint, we had the vision that wireless would catch up and become competitive with wireline. And, here we are,” said Bradley. “It’s exciting to be on the forefront of mobility, and we’re very excited to be partnering with CLEAR because they are key in driving 4G mobile broadband wireless technology.”
Bradley contends that 4G is a force to be reckoned with. “If people don’t already sell wireless broadband, they’re probably scared of it,” said Bradley, referring to agents’ fear of reducing their commissions since a service like CLEAR costs a fraction of the cost of a T1 and is mobile. However, Bradley argued that avoiding wireless/mobility is a short-sighted view, explaining 4G is a game-changer, offering not only key to attaining ubiquitous Internet and FMC, but also key to using voice, video and other bandwidth-intensive applications over mobile broadband wireless.
“We are excited to partner with WTG to bring our super fast mobile broadband service CLEAR to the business market,” said John Martin, director of national alternate channels, Clearwire. “We truly believe our 4G speed and mobility combined with a great customer experience differentiates us from the rest.”
Clearwire’s investors include Intel Capital, Comcast, Sprint, Google, Time Warner Cable and Bright House Networks.