updated 02:25 pm EST, Mon December 1, 2008
Clearwire WiMAX as Clear
Clearwire today said its recently completed deal with Sprint for WiMAX will use the "Clear" name on its own side of the network rather than use Sprint's Xohm naming scheme. Worth about $14.5 billion, the agreement will effectively replace Xohm on Clearwire's portion of the network rather than see the two provide a united naming scheme.
The news is also followed by a report that Clearwire isn't tied to WiMAX for its 4G service. Although Clearwire has based its wide-area wireless on the Intel-backed technology, company chief Ben Wolff notes that any future development will be built such that it can be swapped over to the competing Long Term Evolution (LTE) standard if demand dictates a switch. AT&T, T-Mobile and Verizon all plan to use LTE starting from roughly 2010 and will leave both Clearwire and Sprint supporting a minority network. Wolff insists his firm won't cling to WiMAX for its own sake if it loses favor.
"We are taking steps to ensure that it's as future proof as possible," he says. "It's not the technology war that some have made it out to be."
Likewise, in spite of the poor US economy, Clearwire notes that it can slow down the deployment of WiMAX to reduce its overhead if conditions are too difficult to build the vast majority of the network by the intended late 2009 deadline.
The news points are potential blows to Intel and Sprint, both of whom are placing much of their hopes for fast wireless broadband on the development of WiMAX for devices ranging from cellphones through to notebooks with the networking built-in. To date, only a handful of systems from Acer and other PC builders support the standard.