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Clearwire Targets Gen Y With Rover Brand

8/30/2010 01:19:54 PM Eastern

Kirkland, Wash. - Rover, a 4G prepaid brand launched by carrier
Clearwire, will target its mobile-broadband service to 18- to 24-year-old city
dwellers with only three unlimited-use pricing plans and two devices, including
a mobile hot spot.

 The Puck is Rover's 4G mobile hot spot at a suggested $149.

The service is
available initially via Rover.com to consumers living in all 49 of Clearwire's
4G markets and, in Houston and St. Louis, through Clear-branded stores, Best
Buy stores and through master agents to independent wireless dealers.

The pricing plans
are $5/day, $20/week and $50/month for unlimited no-cap data usage. The mobile
hot spot, called the Puck, retails for a suggested $149, and a USB stick called
the Stick retails for a suggested $99.99. Both are 4G-only devices lacking 3G
for use outside Clearwire's current markets.

As with
Clearwire's Clear-branded hot spots and USB sticks, service plans for Rover's
devices are the same even though up to eight users at a time could
simultaneously use a hot spot, while only one user at a time can use the USB
stick. The Rover's hot spot operates for four hours on its internal battery.

Although
Clearwire's portfolio of Clear-branded broadband plans includes an
unlimited-use plan, the company is using Rover service plans to target a
youthful "Internet-addicted" generation that is used to unlimited Internet
access and desires simplicity, given that the demographic's parents previously
paid for service, the company said.

Rover is focusing
on this demographic, Clearwire chief commercial officer Michael Sievert said
during a conference call, because simplified service plans with unlimited usage
are "solving a problem for this target audience." Nonetheless, other
demographics will also likely embrace it, given rising demand in general for
unlimited mobile broadband services and prepaid services, he said. Generation Y
will embrace the Rover hot spot, he added, because people who share an
apartment will be able to share Internet service and share in its costs.
They'll also be able to use Rover service with their favorite VoIP
applications, he noted.

Only single-mode
4G devices, not combination 3G/4G devices, will be available for now under the
Rover brand because a majority of the Clear-branded devices sold are 4G-only
and because the targeted demographic is unlikely to travel much outside their
home markets, Sievert noted.

Consumers will be
able to buy Rover service at Rover.com via debit and credit cards, and they'll
be able to buy $20 and $50 gift cards at the stores selling the service.

In a few months,
Clearwire will assess potential changes to its distribution model, said Rover
GM Seth Cummings.

Clearwire's 4G
WiMAX network delivers peak download speeds of more than 10Mbps, peak upload speeds
of 1Mbps, and average download speeds of 3Mbps to 6Mbps.

Clearwire also
wholesales its service to Sprint, cable operators and Best Buy to resell the 4G
services under their own brand name.

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