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December 2, 2008

Clear WiMAX Brand Naming Rivals AT&T

Clearwire-Logo-1.gifThe marriage between Sprint and Clearwire (and $3.2 billion from Comcast, Intel, Time Warner Cable, Google, and Bright House Networks) has brought forth a new network called Clear, which replaces Sprint's unpopular Xohm brand name.

This new union is looking to create a nationwide broadband-wireless network that rivals that of AT&T.

The new company is also keeping the Clearwire name. Sprint will be selling WiMAX (Clear) via Clearwire and the profits will be shared between the two entities.

Clearwire chose Clear as the brand name of its new service because, according to one executive, "it is a simple, commonly used word that has significance as it relates to communications services and, of course, it is part of our corporate name."

I have to say that this is a brilliant move. The name Clear does all of the above, while also defining the service offering, suggesting that we all can have a clear line. It is simple, direct, clean and most importantly modern.

My only concern however, is that the Clear brand may become genericized.

attcingular.gifThis emphasis on modern branding is nothing new to the industry. I have written before about AT&T's struggles to keep its name contemporary in order to attract consumers who like modern naming (remember Cingular?), well Sprint's recent move will clearly position Clearwire as the clear choice for people who want to take advantage of cutting-edge communications.

That said, AT&T has years of brand equity and trust built up, and marketing wisdom suggests that in a tough economy, consumers gravitate toward brand names they know and trust. It will be interesting to see how this wireless network competition plays out.

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Posted by William Lozito at December 2, 2008 9:39 AM
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Sprint has since clarified things a bit.

Clear will be sold direct to customers, but will not be marketed by Sprint.

Instead, Sprint will re-sell Clearwire's service under the Sprint 4G brand. Sprint plans to carve the niche of offering combined CDMA & WiMAX services.

This way, customers have a choice, they can use Clear service for WiMAX-only coverage (which Sprint is invested heavily in anyways), or go with Sprint 4G if they want hybrid cellular and WiMAX service.

That way, Clear is a separate brand, and won't be confused with Sprint 4G.

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