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« Irish Broadband Makes Expansion Plans | Main | Intel Intros Mesh Proposal »

March 3, 2005

History and Future of McCaw

By Nancy Gohring

Bloomberg ran a massive (more than 4,600 words) story detailing the ups and downs of Craig McCaw’s career: This story is really an admirable feat, quoting a waitress for whom McCaw once left a huge tip, a high school classmate, and a 76-year-old man who McCaw first worked for when he was 16 years old. While much of this tale is well known, this story is notable in that it doesn’t omit McCaw’s failures. While the man has some incredible success stories, he’s not entirely perfect either.

All eyes these days of course are on McCaw’s Clearwire venture. The company now has a pretty stripped-down Web site for its future Ireland ventures. The site says that Clearwire Ireland is building networks to cover 14 towns in Ireland, including Dublin and Galway. The Bloomberg piece mentions Clearwire spectrum purchases that cover Copenhagen and I’ve recently also read references to potential Clearwire spectrum buys in Bulgaria and Belgium.

Clearwire has launched service in five cities in the United States but at least one expert thinks that the company may be about to make a much more significant announcement. Caroline Gabriel, research director at Rethink Research Associates, says according to several sources she calls reliable, Sprint and Clearwire have been negotiating a spectrum sharing deal. Such an agreement might pool the spectrum owned by both companies, allowing Clearwire to focus on quickly building a network across the country while Sprint focuses on its mobile cellular network, Gabriel concludes in a recent research report. In addition, such pooling of spectrum and the resulting extensive network would be attractive to companies that might want to lease the network and market services under their own brands.

Gabriel sees additional potential repercussions from such a deal. The partnership could spur owners of 2.3 GHz spectrum, known as wireless communications services or WCS, to actually use the spectrum. BellSouth, Verizon, and SBC all have WCS holdings. WCS gets a bit more complicated because initial versions of WiMax won’t operate in the band but presumably if the demand is there the vendors will make it.

Posted by nancyg at March 3, 2005 1:59 PM

Categories: operators

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