Clearwire, Sprint Nextel join forces on WiMAX

Where the likes of AT&T and Verizon have shunned WiMAX, Clearwire and Sprint Nextel are betting it all on the new mobile broadband technology. According to the Associated Press, the two companies plan to merge their wireless broadband units into a single company worth just under $15 billion. The resulting firm will be known simply as Clearwire, and it will "concentrate on rolling out a mobile network based on the emerging WiMAX standard."

Intel—one of WiMAX's biggest proponents—along with Google, Comcast, Time Warner Cable, and Bright House Networks, will invest a total of $3.2 billion in Clearwire. Once the merger closes in the fourth quarter of this year, Sprint Nextel will own a 51% stake in Clearwire, and it will name seven of the new firm's board members. Current Clearwire CEO Bejamin Wolff will remain at the helm, while current Sprint CTO Barry West will be named president.

For those not in the know, WiMAX is essentially a middle-of-the-road technology between Wi-Fi and conventional cellular protocols like HSPA. WiMAX networks can have a range of up to 30 miles (50 km) and can reach data speeds of up to 70 Mbps (8.75MB/s) at closer ranges.

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