July 19, 2007 8:02 AM PDT

Sprint Nextel, Clearwire plan nationwide WiMax network

Sprint Nextel is partnering with Clearwire, a broadband technology company, to build a nationwide WiMax network for cell phones, both companies announced Thursday.

WiMax is a wireless technology that offers high rates of data transfer and a long transmission reach.

The Sprint Nextel and Clearwire mobile WiMax network is set to have speeds comparable to wireline broadband, the type of Internet connectivity commonly accessed by cable lines. Users will be able to use the network for wireless activities such as downloading media files for full-length movies and conducting video conferences.

Pending government approval, the deal is expected to be finalized within 60 days.

The two companies predict that together, by the end of 2008, they will offer mobile WiMax network access to about 100 million people. Eventually, Sprint Nextel plans to offer WiMax coverage to 185 million users in its 50 largest market areas in the United States, while Clearwire plans to give coverage to an additional 115 million people.

The deal will result in a faster deployment of the next-generation technology than either company could have achieved individually. The companies also plan to share in the commercialization and joint marketing of the network under one common brand, according to the joint statement.

Sharing the responsibilities of building such a costly type of network will also "enable each company to increase capital efficiency, and reduce overall network development and operating costs," according to the statement.

The deal makes technological sense, as Clearwire has expertise in fixed wireless broadband, and Sprint Nextel specializes in mobile wireless, two areas involved in the building of a comprehensive mobile WiMax network.

The network, if successful, could also help bolster revenue for Sprint Nextel, which has reported a string of weak financial quarters, prompting analysts to say it is struggling with its traditional business model.

Clearwire, which was founded by mobile-technology mogul Craig McCaw and had an initial public offering in March, is a small company that has already been partnering with some big players. The company announced a partnership with DirecTV and EchoStar Communications on wireless broadband services in June.

"Our joint efforts will result in customers benefiting from a more extensive network, operating sooner and using our respective spectrum more efficiently than either company could have on its own," Ben Wolff, Clearwire's chief executive, said in a statement.

Sprint is not the first mobile giant to partner with a technology company on WiMax technology. Motorola and Intel announced that they were making plans to build a mobile WiMax network in 2005.

See more CNET content tagged:
Clearwire Corp., Sprint Nextel, wireless broadband, technology company, broadband

5 comments

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185 million + 115 milltion = 100 million??
"Sprint Nextel plans to offer WiMax coverage to 185 million users in its 50 largest market areas in the United States, while Clearwire plans to give coverage to another 115 million people. Both companies predict that together, they will offer mobile WiMax network access to about 100 million people by the end of 2008." I think that should be 85 million and 15 million, yes?
Posted by drewbyh (91 comments )
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100 million by 2008, more later
No. The two companies plan to offer mobile WiMax coverage to 100 million people by 2008. Sprint Nextel and Clearwire predict that in the long-term they will cover 185 million and 115 million people, respectively.
Posted by candacelombardi (50 comments )
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sprint/nextel service
sprint and nextel needs to improve service to more areas first. i've been a nextel customer a few years now and i lose service several times a day due to low signal or no signal. i can rarely use my nextel at home as service is so lousy.
Posted by rebel624 (1 comment )
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voip
that's why Sprint will deploy its own voip and by having a wide wifi coverage nationally, your dropped calls are going to be history. Not to mention the cost of their voice and data service will go down. As long as they can keep the problems to a minimum and are able to provide good customer service, Sprint will take over the wireless market. If only for a brief period of time.
Posted by dondarko (261 comments )
Link Flag
their falling even altought their plan r cheap they dont have service they are worst then att taking the market not gonna happen maybe tmobile or verizon or att but sprint is a mayor no
Posted by omdzomgzyea (2 comments )
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