All Systems Go for US-wide WiMax With Sprint, Clearwire Merger

Sprint Nextel and Clearwire have joined forces to build a nationwide high-speed wireless Internet network using worldwide interoperability for microwave access, or WiMax, technology. The $14.5 billion merger closed Monday with $3.2 billion in equity funding from a variety of heavy hitters in the technology and telecommunications industries: Comcast, Intel, Time Warner Cable, Bright House Networks, Google and Trilogy Equity Partners. Future Remains Unclear With Clearwire
The company will rename its nationwide WiMax network Clear and buy equipment that supports both WiMax and competing 4G technology, LTE.Having passed a final regulatory hurdle last Friday by getting approval to combine its operations with those of Sprint Nextel’s mobile WiMax group into a new company, Clearwire is planning to move ahead with a nationwide WiMax network under a new brand, Clear. However, the company’s hedging its bets by investing in equipment that will support both WiMax and future competitor Long-Term Evolution, Clearwire CEO Benjamin Wolff said today.Clearwire is several steps ahead of competitors like AT&T and Verizon Wireless in offering 4G mobile services in the United States, but Wolff still cast Clearwire as an underdog. “There are much larger companies that aspire to ultimately do what we do,” he said, noting however that Clearwire holds more 4G spectrum than all other competitors combined and won’t have to work around a legacy non-IP mobile network.

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