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December 13, 2007

Another McCaw funded company surfaces

Posted by Tricia Duryee at 4:50 PM

S5 Wireless, a Utah company, is looking to bring a GPS-like device to market that would allow kids, pets, packages and other items to be tracked by small, cheap chips that can be powered by a single battery for up two years and tracked indoors and outside over long distances.

An AP story discusses how the device could be a lot more practical than GPS, which can be bulky and a battery drain. It also typically only receives a signal outdoors.

Billionaire Craig McCaw, Clearwire's chairman, is S5's majority investor.

I tried to figure out if there could be any overlaps with what Clearwire is doing. At the minimum, it sounds like they can use the same cell towers.

The AP reported that S5 plans to use existing cellphone towers and antennas. S5 will need at least three towers within the range of the device's signal in order to pinpoint its location.

The company plans to cover "several" major cities next year and 35 cities within three years. Clearwire is in about 40 cities right now.

S5 plans to use free, unlicensed spectrum in the 900 megahertz band, which is shared by cordless phones.

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Tricia Duryee
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