Much of the attention surrounding WiMAX focuses on larger carriers including Sprint and Clearwire. But much of the early WiMAX momentum is being carried by smaller players. We highlighted DigitalBridge Communications’ WiMAX launch in an earlier post, and now Horizon Wi-Com (no active website yet), headquartered in Alexandria, VA, is making noise about their Northeast U.S. WiMAX trials. Using Navini equipment, Horizon Wi-COM plans to implement service in Boston, New York, Philadelphia, Washington DC, Baltimore, Pittsburgh, Buffalo, Richmond, and Cincinnati with WCS A Block spectrum purchased from Verizon. Quoting from a Navini press release, Ron Olexa, President of Horizon Wi-Com says, “We are first. We have completed Phase I and are now trialing subscribers in some of the most exciting cities.”
It will be interesting to watch companies like Horizon go into tier 1 cities and compete in very mature competitive markets. They will need to get an early foothold and hold it. As larger carriers refine their broadband strategies in large markets with tools like 700 Mhz spectrum, smaller carriers like Horizon may have a tough go at it. Clearwire’s strategy is to focus on tier 2 markets (at least for now), where larger carriers won’t be for a while. And it appears as if companies like Digital Bridge see opportunities in much smaller tier 3 and 4 markets, where competitive pressures are far less.