Clearwire (Nasdaq: CLWR ) is surely putting up a good fight for survival. This otherwise loss-making company has now taken on biggies such as AT&T (NYSE: T ) and Verizon (NYSE: VZ ) in the wireless Internet space. This has largely been made possible by its clients that are offering cheaper data plans that are targeting the young and not-so-financially-well-off.
So does that mean good times ahead for Clearwire? Let's find out...
For instance, one of its customers -- NetZero -- introduced free wireless Internet services amounting to 200 megabytes per month for up to a full year, subject to certain conditions. Another Clearwire wholesale customer, FreedomPop, is also hoping to give the guys at Ma Bell and Verizon sleepless nights. The company is selling a unique case meant for Apple's iPhone that gives users access to 1 gigabyte of data. The case has an integrated WiMAX data receiver, and can be used as a Wi-Fi hotspot, which enables the phone to have Internet access.
So how is all this helping Clearwire?
Clearwire depends on revenue from clients such as FreedomPop and NetZero, so naturally if they are successful in attracting customers, it would translate into further use of Clearwire's WiMAX network -- generating more revenue for the cash-strapped company.
Clearwire also possesses the distinct advantage of having a large quantity of unused 2.5 GHz spectrum, mostly in congested, high-traffic-generating areas -- something that Verizon and AT&T have woefully fallen short in. In fact, Verizon has warned in recent FCC filings that it would not be able to meet the growing demand for mobile broadband services (read: 4G) by the year 2013 in some areas and by 2015 in many other locations. One man's loss is another man's gain, as they say.
What also works in Clearwire's favor is the fact that its customers seem to have a voracious appetite for data, as usage of its wireless network jumped by a whopping 705% in 2011. What's significant is that this growth was not only derived from new subscribers, but also from existing ones who apparently used more data every month.
Add to this the misfortunes of LightSquared, which have also played out in favor of Clearwire in the form of even more clients and reduced competition, and you have further reasons to smile. With the cancellation of the Sprint-LightSquared deal, Clearwire grabbed the opportunity to tie up with Leap Wireless and Simplexity, both ex-LightSquared customers.
The Foolish bottom line
The increase in revenue would certainly provide a boost to a company that is in the process of overlaying its WiMAX network with almost 8,000-odd TD-LTE sites, hoping to enhance the capacity of its existing spectrum. At the same time, the company now seems to be one step closer to finally recording a profit. This gives me further hope that there is definitely light at the end of the tunnel for Clearwire.
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