Clearwire on Wednesday announced its intent to adopt LTE across its network. The 4G wholesaler says it may add LTE Advanced-ready technology to its network that will provide up to 120Mbps download speeds according to network technology trials. “Clearwire plans to raise the bar again for mobile broadband service in the United States,” said John Stanton, Clearwire’s Chairman and interim CEO, in a statement. “Our leadership in launching 4G services forced a major change in the competitive mobile data landscape. Now, we plan to bring our considerable spectrum portfolio to bear to deliver an LTE network capable of meeting the future demands of the market.” Clearwire confirmed that it does not intend to discontinue support for its 4G WiMAX network in the near term, and it will continue to build out its WiMAX network. The company did not put a timeline on the plans, however, saying that its entire LTE deployment strategy is “subject to additional funding.” Clearwire’s full press release follows below. More →
BGR is at Sprint’s corporate headquarters in Overland Park, Kansas this week for a few days of meetings, tours of the massive Sprint campus and, of course, delicious barbecue. Expect plenty of coverage to come, but among the first stops this afternoon was a great little Q&A session with Sprint CEO Dan Hesse. Sprint’s chief executive had plenty to say about the AT&T/T-Mobile merger as he always does, though he was very candid with us today in admitting that his mission is both personal and professional. Hesse has a long history in the wireless industry as well all know, and he sees this merger as potentially putting an end to the wireless landscape as we know it in the U.S. “I hope you like 4G,” Hesse said, “because it could be the last generation of wireless network in the U.S.” Hesse feels like he has some level of personal duty to ensure that competition and innovation are maintained in the U.S. market, and while Sprint does have contingency plans in place, he is doing everything in his power to ensure that the FCC makes “the right decision.” Hesse also fielded several questions concerning Clearwire’s — and in turn, Sprint’s — stalled 4G WiMAX rollout in the face of Verizon’s aggressive LTE rollout and T-Mobile’s aggressive HSPA+ 42 upgrades. Hesse acknowledged that things have slowed lately, but he confirmed that Sprint has big plans moving forward that will be revealed this fall. In short, Sprint is most certainly not standing still. Of course no comment was made regarding the rumored LightSquared deal that could bring 4G LTE to Sprint subscribers in the near future.
Sprint, Clearwire and Time Warner Cable announced on Tuesday that the current 4G WiMAX footprint in New York City has been expanded by 21%. The network now covers an additional 91,363 people across the New York metropolitan area in Alpine, Bayonne, Elizabeth, Fair Lawn, Newark, Paramus, Secaucus and Union, New Jersey; and Hartsdale, New Rochelle, New York, Rockville Centre and Yonkers, New York. Clearwire’s 4G network currently covers more than 130 million U.S. residents, including a total of 11,927,000 people in the New York City area. Read on for the full press release. More →
It’s no secret that Clearwire’s going through a rough patch and, in an interview with CNET, Clearwire’s chief operating officer Erik Prusch said that the carrier may eventually switch from WiMAX to LTE. “WiMAX to date has been a very good technology choice for us,” Prusch said. “We were able to take advantage of the speed to market before LTE was even a glimmer in anyone’s eye. But we recognize the ecosystem in the U.S. will be larger for LTE than WiMAX, so we are conscious of that.” Last summer Clearwire confirmed that it would begin testing 4G LTE trials in the U.S., and it expected to demonstrate that it “[could] deliver significantly higher performance using LTE technologies than any other operator.” It’s unclear how those tests went, but Prusch did backtrack a bit and say that a switch isn’t definite, and that Clearwire needs to keep its eye on LTE and its ecosystem before pulling the trigger and setting a definite timeline. Last month Sprint — which owns a majority stake of Clearwire — said that it has agreed to pay the company $1 billion through 2012 for fees associated with the use of Clearwire’s 4G WiMAX network. More →
Sprint, which owns the majority stake of Clearwire, has agreed to pay the company at least $1 billion through 2012 for fees associated with the use of its 4G WiMAX network. Sprint and Clearwire entered arbitration late last year after Sprint argued that it shouldn’t have to pay a fee for 4G handsets that exist where Clearwire’s 4G WiMAX network isn’t available. Sprint charges its customers an extra $10 monthly for the option to run on 4G networks and Clearwire charges an estimated $4.46 per 4G-handset owner. According to the Associated Press, Sprint will pay Clearwire $300 million this year and $550 million in 2012. Sprint will also reportedly pay an additional $175 million in a prepaid agreement to use the 4G WiMAX network this year and in the future. Sprint’s CEO, Dan Hesse, told the AP that his company is pleased to have reached a settlement. More →
AT&T was noticeably silent about its $39 billion acquisition of T-Mobile during the CTIA Wireless 2011 tradeshow last week, but on Wednesday the company’s CEO, Randall L. Stephenson, took some time to discuss potential public benefits of the purchase. Speaking at the Council on Foreign Relations, Stephenson argued that by purchasing T-Mobile, AT&T will increase capacity by 30% immediately while simultaneously increasing network reliability. AT&T predicts that network traffic could grow 5-8 times from where it is today over the next 5 years, and that kind of growth would require more spectrum capacity than is currently available. According to PCMag, Stephenson also said that the purchase would allow AT&T to cover 95% of the United States with a 4G network. When asked whether the purchase would create a AT&T/Verizon Wireless duopoly, Stephenson pointed to major markets where there are often five or more carriers to choose from, such as New York. That doesn’t include wholesale retailers such as Clearwire or LightSquared, both of which have signed on to sell Best Buy Connect branded 4G networks. Similarly, Stephenson stated that in Detroit, San Francisco, and in Miami, among other places, T-Mobile isn’t considered the No. 4 carrier. That kind of competition, Stephenson believes, will push prices down for consumers. Stephenson admitted that the acquisition could result in some job losses as the two companies integrate, but believes that the end result will be a “net job grower.” More →
Best Buy Connect — Best Buy’s mobile broadband arm — on Monday announced that customers can now sign up for 4G service. The 4G data service, which was launched through a wholesale agreement with Clearwire, is an option for customers purchasing one of Best Buy’s 23 supported laptop models from Asus, Samsung, Dell, HP, Sony and Toshiba, and Best Buy Connect provides all the service and support. Unlimited access to the 4G WiMAX network will set you back $45 each month with a two-year contract or on a month-to-month basis. If you sign up for a two-year contract, however, Best Buy Connect will waive the $35 activation fee, and Best Buy will knock $150 off the price of “select hardware devices.” Best Buy says that users can sign up for the 4G service nationwide, however access to the 4G WiMAX network is only available in the 70 U.S. markets where Clearwire offers it. Just last week Best Buy announced a new agreement to sell LightSquared’s 4G LTE service under its Best Buy Connect brand, although it’s unclear when that network will be offered. Hit the jump for the full release. More →
According to analysts at Gerson Lehrman Group, Sprint is already in the process of transitioning to LTE. In an analysis published Wednesday, the firm claims knowledge of “project leapfrog,” allegedly Sprint’s codename for the buildout of a new LTE network that will take place over the next several years. “Sprint has initiated project leapfrog with Alcatel-Lucent, Ericsson, and Samsung to upgrade its network to LTE while also removing iDEN base stations and fully utilizing its 800MHz spectrum,” the report states. “This three year project is designed to leave Sprint with a competitive, nationwide LTE network while reducing operating costs.” The report follows earlier news that Sprint plans to finally shift the business it gained in acquiring Nextel off of its old iDEN network and onto its CDMA network. More →
WiMAX network operator Clearwire is the target of a new lawsuit that has been filed out of a Seattle district court. Lawyers representing the plaintiffs allege that Clearwire “throttles down the speed of its Internet service to speeds similar to dial-up telephone modem speeds,” and likens the company’s business practices to “a bandwidth Ponzi scheme.” Customers who are not satisfied with the speeds provided by Clearwire’s self-proclaimed high-speed internet are forced to pay early termination fees. “Clearwire made materially false, misleading, and/or deceptive representations and omissions about the speed and capacity of its Internet service,” reads the court filing. “Rather than limiting its subscribers to a number that its broadband infrastructure can accommodate — such that Clearwire can make good on its representations regarding high-speed service and capacity — Clearwire signed up many more subscribers than it could handle so as to maximize revenue and profit.” The embattled network operator now faces false advertising claims from fifteen plaintiffs seeking class action status. Clearwire has been in news headlines over the past several months as it tries to negotiate a usage agreement with WiMAX network partner Sprint.
Clearwire on Thursday announced that CEO and director of the board Bill Morrow will resign effective immediately. Morrow cites personal reasons for his resignation and he will continue to serve as an advisor to the company while the interim CEO, chairman of the board John Stanton, transitions into his new role. “I would like to commend Bill for his tremendous leadership in building the first U.S. 4G network, adding more than 5 million subscribers, and raising funds in a challenging economic environment,” Stanton said in a statement. “Bill built a strong leadership team which enables us to promote Erik Prusch and Hope Cochran to new roles. Together, the entire management team at Clearwire remains focused on delivering value to its customers and shareholders.” Two other top Clearwire executives, Chief Information Officer Kevin Hart and Chief Commercial Officer Mike Sievert, will be leaving the company as well. Hit the break for the full press release. More →
Sixteen WiMAX operators from around the world convened in Taipei this week to draft an international roaming agreement for their 4G networks. The WiMAX Forum Global Operator Summit, as it is being called, had just shy of seventy representatives working on the deal. Global roaming is projected to be a $67 billion business by 2015.
“The WiMAX Forum Global Operator Summit was created to specifically address overcoming both business and consumer perceptions that data roaming is expensive, and to explore ways to help operators grow revenue,” said Ron Resnick, president of the WiMAX Forum. “WiMAX has an established ecosystem with nearly 600 deployments around the world. The opportunity for operators to offer their customers roaming is there, and it is an excellent way for operators to add another viable revenue stream and earn returns on their 4G network investments.”
Representatives from both Sprint Nextel and Clearwire attended the event. Full press release is after the break. More →
Today, the FCC gave Novatel Wireless’ MiFi 4082 the U.S. Government’s official seal of approval. What makes the 4082 unique from other MiFi devices, you ask? The addition of a WiMAX radio of course. The device will sport a CDMA radio capable of 1xRTT and EV-DO data along with a more attractive, 4G-ish, WiMAX option. If we had to venture a guess, we would expect to see the 4082 hit wireless carrier Sprint sometime in January of 2011.
Last month, we reported on the short-term liquidity problems on the horizon for WiMAX network operator Clearwire, and today, the company has announced measures aimed at rectifying its current situation. Clearwire plans to raise over $1.1 billion through the sale of debt securities in “private placement transactions.” As the press release reads:
Clearwire Communications is offering $175.0 million first-priority senior secured notes due 2015, $500.0 million of second-priority secured notes due 2017 and $500.0 million of exchangeable notes due 2040 and will grant the initial purchasers of the exchangeable notes an option to purchase up to an additional $100.0 million of exchangeable notes.
The securities will be offered to “qualified institutional buyers” only and note-holders will be paid-out in either cash or stock once the paper hits maturity. Recently, the “4G” network operator cut close to 15% of its workforce in order to conserve cash.
U.S. wireless provider Sprint — whose WiMAX enabled devices run on Clearwire’s airwaves — owns 54% of the network operator. Sprint declined to comment on the planned sales. More →