Clearwire CEO Open To Switching 4G Technologies

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News Posted: Thu, Sep 17 2009 2:38 PM
Clearwireseems to be keeping its options open. It's been just days since news brokeabout a possible globalWiMAX roaming agreement between Clearwire and a pair of internationalcarriers, and now the company's CEO is stating that he would be open to the possibilityof switching fourth-generation, or 4G, wireless technologies down the road ifthat helped the company.

Currently, Clearwire's 4G network operates on WiMAX technology. Given thatmost of the world seems to be headed to a different 4G standard called LTE, the fact that Clearwire iskeeping its options open could be a good thing.

Clearwire and majority backer Sprint Nextel have alreadystaked their claim to offering the first 4G wireless network in the U.S.,which could give them a leg up in competition. In the U.S., Verizonis the only other carrier who might offer 4G services before the end of thisyear, though the majority of the company's 4G rollouts aren't likely to happenuntil next year. AT&Twon’t begin testing a 4G service until 2011. T-Mobile isalso taking its time moving to 4G. Like AT&T, the company plans to upgradeits existing network first.

Clearwire Chief Executive Bill Morrow recently told DowJones Newswires that if LTE becomes the dominant 4G technology, his company caneasily switch technologies given its newly built infrastructure. "We'rethe only carrier that can do this," he said. "We'll do what's rightfor the business. Whether it's LTE, WiMAX, future technology X, it doesn'tmatter to me."

Recently, there's been talk of a potential bid by DeutscheTelekom AG (DT) for Sprint. If a deal is reached, it would call into questionSprint's commitment to WiMAX since DT has already committed to using LTE as its4G technology.

Although Morrow wouldn't comment on the speculation, he didexplain that changes in strategy would require a simple software update, sincemany of the company's routers are compatible with both technologies. For now, Clearwireplans to stick with WiMAX. As Morrow put it, "WiMAX is here today, and LTEis not."

Clearwire is currently in the middle of building out itsWiMAX network and plans to cover 80 markets by the end of the year. The companystill needs additional funding to complete the build out and run the network untilit can turn a profit. In addition to Sprint, big name companies such as Google and Intel also own stakes in thecompany.

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3vi1 replied on Sat, Sep 19 2009 1:56 PM

Note to self: create tech company named 5G, wait until market and advertising is saturated with new fifth generation wireless products, sue everyone for "creating customer confusion" by using my trademark, burn in the afterlife.

What part of "Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn" don't you understand?


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