It made sense to us that small-to-medium-size businesses might be some of the early adopters of mobile WiMax services in the U.S., especially companies with “local nomads,” workers who roam a lot but in a somewhat local region (which could be covered by a single metro-area WiMax service). Seems like the Clearwire folks are thinking the same way, as evidenced by this new page touting business-specific service plans for their Portland, Ore., network.
While the in-office broadband prices seem competitive — unlimited usage with 6 Mbps/1 Mbps download/upload speeds for $75 a month — the more-compelling offer may be the “mobile shared” services which, allow for both in-office and local-roaming use. The mobile plans (which are advertised under a “coming soon” banner) will let small offices support teams of users on the same billing plan, starting at $75 a month for a shared 15 Gbytes of mobile data. According to the plan page, each additional device is $25, which theoretically makes such a service much cheaper than cellular data plans, which average about $60 a month per user for much slower speed links.
While the Clearwire/Xohm rollout so far has been targeted mainly at consumer use, the success of standalone WiMax services for business from providers like Towerstream suggests that setup speed, low pricing and flexibility could make WiMax an good choice for budget-minded small businesses. The Clearwire page also advertises a Business Voice service (”coming soon”) for $25 a month, but no details whether that is per office or per user. If it’s $25 for the whole office, that’s a real enticement, almost as good as the free VoIP we suggested as a pot-sweetner.
So far, the business pricing plans haven’t shown up on the Baltimore services page, for the network still known as Xohm but changing to Clear any day now. Guessing we will hear more details about business plans at the upcoming “official” Portland launch event Jan. 6.
Business WiMax is just one of the monthly topics we will cover in full detail in 2009, as part of the Sidecut Reports WiMax Focus research service. Sign up before Jan. 12 and receive our WiMax Market Report, a $299.95 value, free!