Clearwire is in no rush to get into the smartphone space no matter how smartphone-happy the industry may be, says company CEO Bill Morrow.
“I have specifically told the [retail arm of Clearwire] that I want the focus this year to be on mobile computing,” Morrow said in an interview after the company’s fourth-quarter financials were released today. “We will ultimately be in the smartphone business but I really want to make a claim on the mobile computing space because it’s really where our sweet spot is at the moment. No one can compete with us.”
Forbes recently reported that Sprint will launch its first WiMAX handset in the first half of 2010, months earlier than expected. Morrow remained mum on the issue, restating the company’s previous goal of having a handset running on its WiMAX network by the second half of this year.
According to Morrow, the handset could come from either the Clear brand itself or one of its strategic investors, which include Sprint and Google. Instead of going after smartphones, Clearwire will continue to capitalize on its position within the 4G space.
Clearwire’s average customer uses 7 GB of data per month. That figure puts Clearwire subscribers’ data usage several times above the average smartphone user. Even the heaviest iPhone users only consume about 1 GB per month, according to a recent survey published by Consumer Reports.
“We see that as a positive sign of what real usage and pent-up demand looks like,” Morrow says. “3G networks will be insufficient to supply that much data on a profitable basis. That takes Clearwire and puts us in a very strong position for mobile computing.”