A sales rep at H Power Computing computer store in Honolulu holds out a Clearwire
wireless network system card (AP).

Clearwire Merger May Change the World of Wireless

May 09, 2008 09:27 AM
by findingDulcinea Staff
by Josh Katz
A diverse consortium of technology giants announced Wednesday the formation of the new Clearwire company, which plans to take wireless to the next level.

30-Second Summary

Sprint Nextel and the former Clearwire spearheaded the deal, creating a new company with Clearwire’s Benjamin G. Wolff as chief executive and Sprint Chief Technology Officer Barry West as president.
The $14.5 billion partnership also involves Google, Intel, Comcast, and Time Warner as investors, who together are contributing $3.2 billion to the venture.

The motivation for the merger is as diverse as the parnters themselves. Sprint Nextel, the largest investor, is looking to gain ground on Verizon and AT&T. Comcast and Time Warner see the deal as an opportunity to extend broadband service beyond the home.

Intel already has a large stake in WiMax, which Seeking Alpha describes as “a technology that provides high-speed wireless data over long distances via mobile devices such as phones and laptops.” And, according to The New York Times, Google “hopes to develop another platform for advertising.”

Clearwire will look to harness WiMax technology to provide high-speed wireless services to a larger part of the nation than WiFi.

The alternative to Clearwire’s WiMax, called Xohm, is LTE, or Long-Term Evolution. AT&T and Verizon are going to adopt the LTE platform—which has been favored throughout the world—to compete with Xohm.

Clearwire’s consortium has the advantage of being first, but it suffers a number of potential drawbacks. Marguerite Reardon at CNet questions the ability of so many formidable companies to work together, writing, “Four of the main partners will essentially be selling services using the same network to some of the same customers.”

But Kevin Maney of Condé Nast Portfolio writes that it shouldn’t matter to the general public whether Clearwire and WiMax succeed, because they will likely benefit from the competition either way. “All in all, let’s hope a Sprint Nextel venture fires the starting gun, and we get an all-wireless, all-the-time world sooner rather than later.”

View Reuters coverage

Headline Link: ‘Technology Group Plans Wireless Network’

Opinion & Analysis: Debating the implications of Clearwire

‘Sprint Deal: Lurching Toward an All-Wireless, Always-Connected Future’
‘Clearwire Merger: IPO Buyers Lose, Insiders Win’
‘Is the New Sprint/Clearwire Venture Doomed to Failure?’
Clearwire’s structure
‘Intel's Expensive WiMax Habit’
‘Sprint Forms WiMax JV With Clearwire’

Related Topic: The future of the DirecTV-Clearwire partnership


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