The Wall Street Journal reports Craig McCaw to launch nationwide wireless Internet service on Wednesday -- but he doesn't -- or does he?: As Steve Stroh reported a month ago, McCaw's Clearwire will be an alternative to cell-based data networks and fixed-location or even citywide Wi-Fi offer 1.5 to 2 megabits per second. This is clearly downstream speed; upstream isn't noted. Service will launch this summer in two cities and expand to 20 within a year, the report in the WSJ says.
The service is described as portable, but not mobile, which is a key distinction: portable means it can be used easily in many places; mobile means it can be used while in motion (walking or driving often having a distinct difference). Cellular services are mobile and portable. Wi-Fi is typically neither except in newer cases of hotzones or citywide Wi-Fi in which its certainly portable, and may also be mobile at the right speeds and in the right locations.
According to Stroh's research in April and May, Clearwire will use technology from NextNet, a company acquired by McCaw. The Journal and Stroh both note that this is interim technology that will ultimately transition to WiMax equipment, although Nancy Gohring has reported that U.S.-capable WiMax gear may not be available until as late as 2006.
Stroh covers the news about the news shedding light on statements that are inaccurate, repeated incompletely from other sources, and correct. Stroh notes that McCaw did announce the service (some reports said he did not), and talks a bit about NextNet's technology role. Also critical, as Stroh points out, is that Clearwire will offer voice and data.