updated 01:35 pm EDT, Thu July 19, 2007
Sprint and Clearwire WiMAX
Sprint and Internet provider Clearwire today struck a deal that would see the two companies jointly build WiMAX networks, creating the first genuinely US-wide service of its type. While both companies will build their own segments individually, subscribers to the future services will be able to use either network. Branding, the network backbone and the development of the 4G service's future technology will also be shared, both companies said. Sprint in particular will take on the majority of phone-related development, offering dual-role CDMA and WiMAX devices as well as helping virtual carriers such as Helio use WiMAX should they decide to support it.
The agreement will remain in effect for the next 20 years and will see its first fruits in the first half of 2008, when both Clearwire and Sprint expect to offer WiMAX to the public. Sprint will provide majority coverage, but both firms expect a total of 100 million people to be within range of the high-speed Internet service by the end of that same year. Intel, Motorola, Nokia, and Samsung are said to already have WiMAX-capable devices in the works which may launch along with the service itself.