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Supporting WiMAX Wireless for Clearwire

Communications | Network Infrastructure Staffing

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Clearwire partners with TEKsystems to roll out its WiMAX wireless broadband services into a new market.

Clearwire, a leading provider of wireless broadband services, currently serves 82 million customers in 62 markets across the United States and estimates reaching up to 120 million people this year. Clearwire’s open all-IP network, coupled with significant spectrum holdings, provides a powerful combination of speed and mobility to deliver next generation broadband access. TEKsystems has supported this client since 2005.

WiMAX, Dragonwave

As part of an aggressive expansion campaign, Clearwire sought to establish a new presence in the Los Angeles-area market. This required the deployment of over 900 new cell sites against an ambitious timeline. Based on a massive upfront investment, Clearwire needed to choose the vendors involved in this initiative carefully. Because of strong past performance dating back several years, TEKsystems, along with one other supplier, was chosen from a pool of eight staffing vendors to supply the 20 field technicians required.

TEKsystems was chosen based on superior past performance, our ability to assume responsibility for phone screening and the interview process, our understanding of the local market and our ability to deliver local talent rapidly. Based on the project timeline, those 20 spots needed to be filled quickly. Additionally, the client desired only local talent in order to manage costs. The Director of Southwest Operations recognized that his peers had paid high per diem costs in rolling out other Clearwire markets in the past. Qualified local technicians promised an effective way to mitigate unnecessary costs.

Proactively incorporating Clearwire’s specifications into our selection criteria, we effectively streamlined the client’s vetting process. Our deep local network allowed us to locate and evaluate 70 LA-based technicians suitable for this demanding rollout. We presented the client with data containing the physical location of each technician and stack-ranked them against their hiring specifications. Of the 20 required spots, TEKsystems filled 16 within four weeks. The remainder were supplied by the other preferred vendor.

Managed centrally by the client, our field technicians installed, integrated and commissioned every required site over the course of 10 months. The scope of technician responsibilities included:

  • Conducting quality assurance site visits to ensure construction vendors were adhering to standards for new site builds
  • Providing technical support with pathing, and maintaining microwave back haul network
  • Installing, cabling and programming new equipment at site locations
  • Commissioning and testing new sites into the network
  • Maintaining network documentation to a very high level of accuracy

Additionally, TEKsystems assisted the client in developing an Access database incorporating best practices derived from our experience supporting similar rollouts.

Clearwire achieved significant cost savings in comparison to past rollouts due to TEKsystems’ ability to provide local technicians thus eliminating travel expenses. As most carriers try to cluster their sites based upon the location of their technicians, our ability to provide Clearwire with an effective visual system for showing technician location enabled it to coordinate deployment efforts much more effectively. This reduced drive time, improved response time on alarms and outages, and increased overall employee satisfaction. The cost savings and logistical improvements also enabled the client to hire two additional field technicians, which expedited the rollout considerably and enabled Clearwire to launch its WiMAX wireless broadband services several days earlier than expected.

Of the 16 field technicians placed, Clearwire has hired six as full time employees and extended the contracts of the remaining 10 for another six months. This provides the client with continuity and in-house intellectual capital for site refreshes and future rollouts. TEKsystems continues to support the rollout of new sites as needed and provides day-to-day maintenance on existing ones. Clearwire considers TEKsystems a trusted advisor.