Clearwire Adds Huawei as WiMax Vendor

Chinese telecommunications equipment maker Huawei Technologies joins Motorola, Samsung, Cisco Systems and DragonWave as equipment providers for Clearwire's WiMax network.

WiMax provider Clearwire Aug. 11 added Chinese telecommunications equipment maker Huawei Technologies to its vendor mix. Huawei will supply WiMax radio-access network equipment, including base stations, element management system components, and related network hardware and software.

Clearwire also named several other strategic suppliers for the company's ambitious WiMax network rollout plans that will bring 4G wireless service to 80 markets, covering up to 120 million people, by the end of 2010. Clearwire will turn to Motorola and Samsung along with Huawei for RAN equipment; Cisco Systems for the core IP next-generation network infrastructure; Ciena for base-station switching; and DragonWave for the network's microwave backhaul transport. Motorola also will provide additional microwave backhaul equipment.

"Our new network is specifically designed to deliver an unmatched combination of 4G speeds, capacity and mobility to meet the growing demand for wireless broadband services," Clearwire CTO John Saw said in a statement. "As such, we have designed an all-IP network that is efficient, low-cost and scalable using standards-based technology from industry-leading providers."

Clearwire and Sprint Nextel are the only two U.S. carriers betting on WiMax technology to deliver 4G wireless broadband. Verizon and AT&T, the nation's two largest carriers, are betting on a rival technology called LTE for their 4G networks. Both WiMax and LTE allow for the delivery of last-mile wireless broadband access, promising faster download speeds than current networks.

Clearwire already offers 4G WiMax service in Atlanta, Baltimore, Las Vegas and Portland, Ore. On Aug. 3, Clearwire announced that it would also roll out 4G wireless service in 10 new markets: Boise, Idaho; Bellingham, Wash.; and Abilene, Amarillo, Corpus Christi, Lubbock, Midland/Odessa, Killeen/Temple, Waco and Wichita Falls, all in Texas, will join the network by Sept. 1.

Clearwire plans to add additional 4G network service in Chicago, Dallas/Ft. Worth, Honolulu, Philadelphia, Seattle and Charlotte, N.C., by the end of 2009. Some of the additional launches planned for 2010 include New York, Boston, Washington, Houston and the San Francisco Bay Area.

"Clearwire's vision for connecting the Internet to people, not just places, and their dedication to building the first nationwide WiMax network in the United States is an exciting opportunity for Huawei," Wan Biao, Huawei's president of wireless products, said in a statement. "Today's announcement is an important milestone and represents a significant step toward establishing Huawei's presence in North America and further demonstrates our commitment to delivering high-quality products and services to our customers."

Sprint Nextel opened the original U.S. WiMax market in Baltimore in 2008. Following a merger that saw Sprint turn over its entire 2.5GHz spectrum holdings and its WiMax-related assets, including its Xohm division, to Clearwire, the newly branded Clear Jan. 6 rolled out a WiMax network in Portland.
As part of the merger deal, Clearwire also brought in $3.2 billion in WiMax investments from Comcast, Intel, Time Warner Cable, Google and Bright House Networks. Comcast, Intel and Google have already taken write-downs on their WiMax investments.