Sprint, Clearwire Get Set to Merge

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Carl Ford
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Sprint, Clearwire Get Set to Merge

Thanks to the FCC's approval, the clock is now really ticking forward on the Sprint-Clearwire merger that will create the "New" Clearwire and its nationwide WiMax network. While we still need to see a Clearwire shareholder vote later this month, the number everyone wants to know -- how many folks have signed up for Xohm services in Baltimore -- is still unknown, since neither Sprint nor Clearwire reported any Xohm user numbers in their recent respective earnings calls.

There were some WiMax nuggets, however -- one from Sprint's report last Friday said that the company spent $134 million in capex on WiMax during the quarter, we are guessing probably not all in Baltimore but in some soon-to-launch markets as well.

On the Clearwire side, the company all but stopped promoting its previous "WiMax-like" service, signing up just 8,000 new subscribers during the most-recent quarter. However, on the mobile WiMax side Clearwire said its Portland, Ore., network is ready for an "official" launch in Q1 2009 (though it will probably be working before the end of the calendar year) and that it also successfully tested the implementation of a mobile WiMax overlay in one of its previous technology markets. Having lots of spectrum is what will let Clearwire upgrade its past markets to mobile WiMax without having to rip out the earlier technology. Once the deal is done, the new Clearwire will be able to move forward with planning, marketing and deployment -- we are still guessing (and it is just a guess) that there will be some big splash at CES 2009, with any luck on the mobile WiMax network Clearwire is building there. Maybe it's time for some snoopin' and sniffin' to see if the network is live yet.

Need to know more about WiMax? Order our new consumer WiMax report, which looks in detail at the recent launch of Sprint's Xohm WiMax services in Baltimore, and how WiMax's combination of speed, mobility, and innovative pricing might satisfy the growing consumer demand for an always-on Internet experience.


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