The newly merged operations of Sprint's Xohm WiMax division and Clearwire sets sights on Portland, Ore., as the second city to be wired for WiMax, which allows for the delivery of last-mile 4G wireless broadband access. The open all-IP network provides customers with average download speeds initially of 2-4 megabits per second and peak rates that are considerably faster.
With one WiMax outpost established in Baltimore, the newly
combined Clearwire and Sprint Nextel Xohm WiMax division
have put a west coast footprint in Portland, Ore., as the next step in their
plans to build a nationwide 4G wireless network. The Jan. 6 debut will be first
citywide effort marketed under the merger's new Clear identity.
WiMax made its initial
U.S. appearance in Baltimore
in October and is still operating under the
The new Clearwire plans to provide WiMax service in most
of the top 100 markets by no later than 2010. Clearwire estimates it will take
up to $7 billion to complete the network. When Sprint and Clearwire formally
closed their $14.5 billion merger deal
Dec. 1 to combine the two carriers'
4G wireless Internet businesses, the deal also included a combined $3.2 billion
investment by Comcast, Intel, Time Warner Cable, Google and Bright House Networks.
WiMax's 4G technology allows for the delivery of
last-mile wireless broadband access. WiMax promises faster download speeds than
current cellular networks and has the potential to be a competitor to
fixed-line broadband such as DSL. Verizon Wireless, AT&T and other mobile
carriers have committed to a 3G technology known as LTE.Clearwire's open all-IP network provides customers
with average download speeds initially of 2-4 megabits per second and peak
rates that are considerably faster. In the Portland rollout, Clearwire is
charging $30 a month for a 200 Mb usage cap and $50 per month for unlimited
data. Clearwire is also charging customers a $35 activation fee.Sprint and Clearwire hope their combined wireless
spectrum will allow the new Clearwire to achieve greater coverage, cost and
operational efficiencies, and bandwidth-utilization than either company could
by operating alone. Intel, a longtime proponent of WiMax, will invest
about $1 billion into the new Clearwire while Comcast plans to contribute a
little more than $1 billion. Time Warner is putting up $550 million and Google
$500 million. Sprint, the nation's No. 3 wireless carrier, will own the largest
stake in the new company, with about 51 percent equity ownership. Existing
Clearwire shareholders will own about 27 percent of the venture. The new
strategic investors, as a group, will be acquiring about 22 percent of the new
Clearwire.Google will become Sprint's preferred mobile search
provider and Sprint users will have easier access to Google Maps for mobile,
YouTube and other Google services. Clearwire CEO Benjamin Wolff said the new
WiMax network would be open to all legal devices and services, including
Google's Android platform. Intel will supply networking gear and software for
the new network.