wimax

The Lumia 920 to sport LTE speeds on Orange / T-Mobile UK?

Nokia is reportedly in talks with Everything Everywhere to launch an LTE Windows Phone in the UK, according to the Financial Times. Everything Everywhere is the parent company of both Orange and T-Mobile UK, and has authorisation from UK communications regulator Ofcom to begin using its 1800 MHz spectrum to offer LTE and WiMAX services.

This will bring increased network capabilities to customers of both UK carriers, though which Nokia Windows Phone will be featured to launch on upgraded networks is unknown. Other UK carriers who desire to build up LTE / 4G networks will have to wait until next year, including the likes of Vodafone, O2 and Three. We’re likely to see Apple take advantage of new network speeds with the next iPhone.

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A lot of hay has been made of Sprint and their new 4G network based off of WiMax, especially with the imminent launch of the HTC EVO.

But the fact remains, in terms of 4g technologies, WiMax may be the first but it's far from the default choice by many carriers in the U.S., let alone world-wide. Some feel this may be a dead-end for Sprint in the long run and if it's one thing Sprint doesn't need, it's another dud (cough, Palm Pre, cough).

Thankfully, Sprint was smart enough to leave options on the table.

To the point, Sprint has "...issued a "next generation network" request for proposal (RFP)" on their current fiber and they're looking at LTE:

"There's nothing that prevents us from... moving to LTE," said Kevin Packingham, senior VP of product and technology development at Sprint, speaking at the LTE event here. "We're doing a technology evaluation and making a decision on our core network and how we want to evolve that going forward."

And what about ol' WiMax? Looks like Sprint could have its cake and eat it too as they don't consider the two technologies "mutually exclusive". One could envision WiMax being deployed as a "hotspot" technology where LTE more ubiquitous. Of course, timing is everything and that could snag them a bit. But options are always good and at least Sprint didn't totally paint themselves into a corner. We hope.

[Light Reading via Electronista]

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Now let's try to wrap our minds around this one ... Sprint is going to be announcing a Windows Phone that makes use of WiMax, which is the technology behind Sprint’s 4G network. The logic behind this theory is that Sprint has an event scheduled for January 6 with announcements by Dan Hesse (Sprint’s CEO) and Steve Ballmer (Microsoft’s CEO). Also, Sprint and LG have been sending out invitations to an event scheduled for the following evening; giving possible insight into the identity of the device manufacturer. InformationWeek points out that the January 7 event is being hosted by Brooke Shields, and states that a celebrity of that magnitude isn’t brought in for a small announcement.

To this point, we haven’t seen ANY WiMax-capable smartphones hit the market. We’ve seen rumors every now and again, but nothing solid. If Microsoft could be the first to market with this technology, even over Palm and its current exclusivity with Sprint, this could be a major coup for Microsoft.

[InformationWeek via Boy Genius Report]

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Time for us to play "What really cool phone is being released overseas that we'll never get here!", one of our favorite games.

This time the lucky country is Korea, who is getting Samsung SPH-M8400 aka they need a better name for it.

To the point, here are the specs:

  • WiMax (WiBro)
  • 3.7" AMOLED WVGA
  • WM6.5
  • 5MP AF camera
  • Digital Mobile TV
  • WCDMA, WiFi, Bluetooth

Actually, though the fine folks at AkiHabaraNews liken it to a worthy competitor to the HD2, even we scoff at the notion.  No, this is a worthy competitor to the Omnia 2...in fact, it's very similar sans the 4G support.  Still, it does look pretty nice.

[AkiHabaraNews via Windows Phone Thoughts]

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Dieter got his hands on the WiMAX-enabled Samsung Mondi back at CTIA in April and was less than impressed. Samsung decided to release the device anyway, and it comes alongside the launch of WiMAX service in Las Vegas.

Sammy says the 4G Mondi will be available in Atlanta, Las Vegas and Portland, Ore. — three of the initial WiMAX launch cities — starting Aug. 1 for an undisclosed sum.

The Mondi's specs that we know of, if you're still interested:

  • Windows Mobile 6.1.
  • 4.3-inch, 800x480 touchscreen.
  • Dimensions: 4.88 x 3.03 x 0.63 inches.
  • WiMAX 4G speeds.
  • WiFi b/g.
  • 3MP autofocus camera with face recognition and panaramic shots.
  • Slide-down keyboard.
  • 4GB internal memory.
  • 256MB RAM

More on the Mondi at Samsung's site, and the full presser's here. More on Clear's WiMAX launch in Vegas here.

Via Engadget Mobile

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Sprint this morning announced a seven-year, $5 billion deal that hands responsibility for its network over to Ericsson, which certainly has been around the block once or twice. So as we're seeing the launch of new Windows phones on Sprint, the bullet points of what it means:

  • Sprint retains full ownership and control of its network assets, and solely owns network strategy and investment decisions.
  • Customers will continue to work directly with Sprint employees as their primary contact, as Sprint retains full control of the customer experience, customer technical support and services review.
  • Sprint retains technology and vendor selections.
  • Ericsson assumes responsibility for the day-to-day services, provisioning and maintenance for the Sprint-owned CDMA, iDEN and wireline networks.

That from the full press release, which you can also find after the break. Also of note is that some 6,000 employees will be transferred to Ericsson's control.

Dieter's done some additional analysis over at PreCentral.net (Sprint, of course, is the Palm Pre's only carrier at the moment), and that's where things get really interesting. The long and the short of it is that we may see a stronger network from Sprint in the future. And there may will have been something to the rumors of Sprint flirting with LTE technology and not just WIMAX for its 4G network.

And we're in full agreement with Dieter in that this makes Sprint even more of a middle man — remember that it spun off its WIMAX business to Clearwire and also sold a bunch of its towers and then leased them back. So Sprint's cutting a lot of its operating costs, while at the same time becoming less of a traditional carrier.

Stay tuned, folks. Things could get interesting in the coming months.

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UPDATE: As promised, Sprint and Clearwire held a news conference this morning regarding the recently approved merger between the two companies.

All of Sprint's XOHM service will be rolled into the new company, and the new WiMAX venture will go by the name "Clear." And that's the main news we got.

Otherwise, they're looking at providing an all-IP WiMAX network with average download speeds of an initial 2 to 4 megabits per second.

There's plenty of glad-handing to be had in the official press release, and click here to listen to the news conference, if you're into that sort of thing. (Warning: You have to "register" with a name and e-mail. Whether it's yours is up to you.)

 

You know that Sprint-Clearwire deal that we’ve been waiting on forever? It’s about to become officially official. Officially.

The FCC already blessed the merger that will help get WiMAX off the ground, for realz. And with the details all worked out, we’ll learn more in a conference call on Monday morning, thanks to the long holiday weekend.

The short version: Clearwire now has a boatload of cash — like, $3.2 billion (said with a raised pinky) — to get things going. It also now has all of Sprint’s 2.5 gigahertz spectrum and its XOHM business, which has already been up and running in Baltimore.

The short, short version: Here comes some sweet 4G goodness

 

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We've already seen Clearwire roll out its WiMax service in Baltimore and Oregon, and now it's launched in its biggest market yet.

Atlanta woke today to 4G speeds, though you'll need WiMax-enabled device or data card to take advantage, natch. We're still waiting for WiMax-enabled phones to hit the mainstream, too (though here's a hands-on we got with one).

In addition to Atlanta, we're still expecting Clearwire to flip on WiMax in more cities in the coming months. Namely:

  • 2009: Las Vegas, Chicago, Charlotte (N.C), Dallas/Fort Worth, Honolulu, Philadelphia, Seattle.
  • 2010: New York City, Boston, Washington D.C., Houston, San Francisco.

Via jkontherun

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Here's a possibly scenario for you to ponder:

So we're just throwing it out there that somewhere out there on the internets is a "signed ship" ROM floating around (we've seen it ourselves) labeled for Clearwire using the Touch HD's moniker.  And that Sprint shows no signs of getting a Touch Diamond 2 even though it is EOL and running on its final shipment.

We could also throw out this gem from criticalaudioinc, who works with HTC and said 7 months ago:

HTC is currently in discussion again on bringing the HTC Touch HD to the US, I currently have a GSM model that we were asked to convert to CDMA, All that was needed was to pull a board from the diamond and re-solder and flash the the rom. From what we can see it is working pretty well the solder isn't pretty but again its a test. But its looking good so far.

So there you go. What say you? We be crazy or is Sprint getting ready to launch a Touch HD with Wimax?

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Hands-On with the Samsung Mondi

After being pleasantly surprised by the rate of WiMAX growth in the states as evidenced in yesterday's keynote, I decided to go and give the Samsung Mondi the once-over.  It's a big ol' tablet with a recessed screen, a somewhat interesting custom interface, middle-of-the-road specs, and a slide down keyboard that's a pretty poor affair.  Oh, yes, and of course, it has WiMAX. Naturally, as is the universal law of all WiMAX demos at conventions, things weren't quite working yet.

Maybe it's that the Mondi was pretty beat up by day 2, but even so, the Mondi is not the device that will spearhead  WiMAX adoption.

More pics after the break

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Our man Dieter's made it to Las Vegas for CTIA and has wasted no time, forgoing the buffet line at the Sizzler for some face time with Samsung.

The Mondi Mobile Internet Device that got a brief mention last week has made a brief appearance, Dieter says, sporting a 4.3-inch touchscreen with Windows Mobile 6.1 Professional. There's also the Touchwiz interface that we've seen on the Omnia, along with Wimax (!) and WiFi, Opera 9.5 and 4 gigabytes of user memory and a microSD card.

There's no 3G radio on board here, but presumably if you're cool enough to be rocking a WiMax MID, you're cool enough for VOIP and can make do. Price is TBA, but Samsung says to expect the Mondi sometime in the second quarter.

Another word on Touchwiz: Samsung says it will beome prevalent and familiar across its family of devices, and that its not necessarily trying to put Windows Mobile out in the shed, nary to be seen.

Update: Get your official pics after the break.

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Samsung apparently has dished a little bit on an upcoming (and as yet unannounced) WiMax device and - lookie, lookie - is that a Windows flag there down at the bottom left?

Not much else is known about the SWD-M100 Mondi, though Phonescoop says that it's destined for Australia's Clear network. And unless the keyboard is minuscule, this appears to be more of a tablet-type phone than a slider.

Stay tuned, folks. The 4G race is racing er, crawling forward.

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Baltimore and Portland, Ore., have been enjoying some of the first fruits of Clearwire's WiMax labor, and more cities are on tap for the next couple of years.

In an earnings report this week, Clearwire announced that it expects to be live in 80 markets in 2010. Here's what we'll be looking for:

  • 2009: Atlanta, Las Vegas, Chicago, Charlotte (N.C), Dallas/Fort Worth, Honolulu, Philadelphia, Seattle.
  • 2010: New York City, Boston, Washington D.C., Houston, San Francisco.

The report says Clearwire also expects "nearly 100 mobile WiMAX devices – such as laptops, netbooks, handhelds, USBs and modems – by the end of the year." This is still mainly data cards at this point, but you have to start somewhere.

MocoNews via Engadget

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Already up and running in Baltimore, Clearwire's "Clear" WiMax service just went live in Portland, Ore., making it the "Fastest City in the West." Hold for applause.

And now we're getting a clear (nyuk nyuk) look at the pricing plans. Here's the breakdown, from clear.com:

  • $10 for a 24-hour pass
  • $30 a month for 200MB of data.
  • $40 a month for 2GB.
  • $50 a month for unlimited data.

For a service that's likely to supplant home and mobile broadband service, $50 a month for unlimited data isn't too bad. It will be interesting to see how the pricing structure holds up when the service takes hold with mobile phones. That there aren't really any phones out there that use WiMax is a whole 'nother ball of wax. Though there is that Russian HTC Max that we‘re still drooling over.

That said, right now we've got two major cities with the 4G capability spawned from Sprint's XOHM service, and eight more reportedly will go online this year.

Full news release after the jump.

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Samsung to Develop Own LTE and WiMAX Chips

Samsung apparently isn't fond of dealing with Qualcomm's patent hassles anymore, or perhaps they've been spooked by how difficult it is to write video drivers for Qualcomm's chipsets, or perhaps they just don't like Qualcomm's LTE roadmap, or maybe it's just the stated reason from EETimes [via mobile burn]: they're unhappy with how much the royalties cost.

Whatever the reason, it looks like Samsung is going it alone for the chips that power their phone, opting to develop them in-house instead of using Qualcomm or Broadcom chips. It also appears that LG may follow suit.

While we're generally happy to see more competition, we do have a bit of a concern about compatibility and standards here. Sure, Samsung will likely drive down costs and speed up development of their handsets with this move. We just hope that Samsung, Qualcomm, Broadcom, Infineon, and the other players in this 4G chips space can agree on some common standards that will make life easier for other shops that can't make their own chips and also easier for carriers to approve handsets more quickly. The last thing we want is redux of the all-out patent war we have been witnessing with the 3G chipsets.

What say you? Smart move by Samsung?

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Say what you want about Sprint — and we've certainly done our share of sayin' — the company keeps on pressing ahead with its EVDO follow-up, the 4G network known as XOHM (pronounced zoam) or WiMax. (This is the 4G competitor to LTE, or Long-Term Evolution, which AT&T and Verizon have signed on for.)

The service is officially up and running in an initial major U.S. city, with New York Chicago Los Angeles Washington Baltimore getting the honors.

Devices that can use WiMax are still a bit scarce, but Sprint promises more in the near future.

Customers can purchase XOHM-branded Samsung Express air cards for $59.99 and ZyXEL modems for $79.99 via XOHM web, telesales or select Baltimore-area independent retailers. Additional WiMAX devices such as a ZTE USB modem, Intel Centrino 2 WiMAX notebook PCs and the Nokia N810 WiMAX Edition are expected in market later this year.

Check in after the jump for Sprint's full press release on the launch, and visit the XOHM Web site here.

T4 Show talks XOHM and WiMax: Speaking of XOHM and WiMax, Michael Manna, host of T4 Show, had Sprint regional media rep Mark Eillott back on his most recent podcast (Episode 86) for an excellent talk about XOHM and WiMax. Give it a listen.

(And while you're over there, be sure to check out our man Dieter Bohn's appearance on Episode 77.)

XOHM WiMAX Broadband Service Debuts in Baltimore

New 4G wireless era dawns as unique business model revolutionizes mobile Internet access

HERNDON, Va.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--

A next-generation 4G wireless network based on mobile WiMAX technology debuted today in Baltimore, heralding the start of a new era for wireless consumers as Sprint (NYSE: S) officially launched XOHM(TM) mobile broadband commercial service in the first major U.S. city.

"This is truly an historic day with the birth of a completely new Internet-based business model that alters the dynamics of the traditional telecom industry," explained Barry West, president of Sprint's XOHM business unit. "Wireless consumers will experience WiMAX device and XOHM service innovation on multiple levels as the computer, Internet, telecom and consumer electronics industries converge to redefine wireless mobility."

XOHM WiMAX will extend the home or office Internet experience and mobile multimedia applications to other places and additional devices. With XOHM, consumers, businesses and local governments will ultimately be able to experience new forms of interactive communications, high-speed mobile Internet browsing, social-networking tools, location-centric services and multimedia including music, video and on-demand products at faster average downlink speeds of 2-4 Mbps. The data-centric XOHM broadband service differs from present wireless offerings in that:

  • No long-term commitments or contracts are required, freeing customers from restrictive long-term subsidized plans;
  • Monthly home, on-the-go and day-pass Internet plans provide service choices;
  • A single monthly charge covers service for multiple WiMAX access devices;
  • WiMAX devices are purchased like other computing/consumer electronic devices,
  • XOHM broadband service is self-activated and includes future updates capability;
  • Customers can enjoy an Internet portal offering enhanced mobile services;
  • The Open Internet business model transcends other carriers' wireless walled gardens that restrict services, choice and innovation.

Starting today, customers can purchase XOHM-branded Samsung Express air cards for $59.99 and ZyXEL modems for $79.99 via XOHM web, telesales or select Baltimore-area independent retailers. Additional WiMAX devices such as a ZTE USB modem, Intel Centrino 2 WiMAX notebook PCs and the Nokia N810 WiMAX Edition are expected in market later this year.

Introductory offers allow customers to choose from both daily and month-to-month service options. At launch, mobile WiMAX service plans include a $10 Day pass, $25 monthly Home Internet service and $30 monthly On-the-go service. Special launch pricing includes a $50 "Pick 2 for Life" monthly service option covering two different WiMAX devices. Visit www.xohm.com to view the current XOHM WiMAX coverage area, details of the introductory broadband service offerings and device sales information.

XOHM subscribers will be given free access to a unique and customizable Web site, called MyXOHM, focusing primarily on local services and entertainment content, as well as providing security services, hosted storage and interactive communications. After choosing preferences, subscribers will have their content pushed to a customized and location-aware portal via small digestible widgets.

XOHM continues to work with WiMAX ecosystem partners and others to incorporate WiMAX technology in a range of computing, portable multimedia, interactive and other business and consumer electronic devices, including the availability of XOHM WiMAX in vehicles for navigation information, news and entertainment.

Sprint will be the first and only national wireless carrier to offer customers a dual-mode 3G - 4G device that extends the power of Sprint's NOW network. Expected to launch in the fourth quarter, this Sprint device will operate on the nation's largest 3G mobile broadband network and the 4G network in Baltimore and other markets as WiMAX service becomes available.

The Baltimore XOHM service launch is one of the most rapid ever for new network development, approximately two years after Sprint's selection of WiMAX IEEE 802.16e as a technology standard and the formation of a charter WiMAX ecosystem with Intel, Samsung and Motorola. Those firms shared a common vision of next-generation mobility services predicated on an embedded chipset model and the wireless enablement of millions of consumer electronic devices that lack wireless connectivity or Internet capability. Nokia, Nokia Siemens Networks, Google, ZTE, ZyXEL and others have since joined the XOHM WiMAX ecosystem.

Sprint's XOHM business unit focuses on developing the WiMAX ecosystem and standards to bring the latest broadband wireless technology to U.S. customers while pursuing roaming and interoperability agreements globally. The XOHM WiMAX network utilizes the 2.5 GHz spectrum holdings that were combined in the Sprint and Nextel merger to deploy next-generation technology. XOHM uses WiMAX infrastructure developed by Samsung Electronics Corporation Ltd. and has worked with them in deployment and buildout of the Baltimore-area WiMAX network. Additional markets are in various stages of infrastructure development for commercial readiness. These efforts are ultimately intended to allow customers to experience a nationwide 4G mobile broadband network that is designed to offer faster speeds, lower cost, greater convenience and enhanced multimedia quality.

As announced earlier this year, Sprint expects to complete the anticipated combination of its XOHM WiMAX business assets with Clearwire to form a new company in the fourth quarter. This new company, to be called Clearwire, will continue to expedite the deployment of a nationwide mobile WiMAX network. Following the transaction, Sprint will be the only national wireless carrier to sell 4G services through an MVNO structure with the new Clearwire.

About Sprint Nextel

Sprint Nextel offers a comprehensive range of wireless and wireline communications services bringing the freedom of mobility to consumers, businesses and government users. Sprint Nextel is widely recognized for developing, engineering and deploying innovative technologies, including two wireless networks serving nearly 52 million customers at the end of the second quarter 2008; industry-leading mobile data services; instant national and international push-to-talk capabilities; and a global Tier 1 Internet backbone. For more information, visit www.sprint.com.

For more information on Sprint's XOHM business unit, visit www.xohm.com.

SAFE HARBOR

This news release includes "forward-looking statements" within the meaning of the securities laws. The statements in this news release regarding plans for the development and deployment of a broadband network based on WiMAX technology; the timing, availability, capabilities, coverage, and costs of the WiMAX network; products and services to be offered on the WiMAX network; and other statements that are not historical facts are forward-looking statements. The words "estimate," "project," "forecast," "intend," "expect," "believe," "target," "providing guidance" and similar expressions are intended to identify forward-looking statements. Forward-looking statements are projections reflecting management's judgment and assumptions based on currently available information and involve a number of risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from those suggested by the forward-looking statements.

Future performance cannot be assured. Actual results may differ materially from those in the forward-looking statements due to a variety of factors, including, but not limited to:

  • the uncertainties related to the implementation of the company's WiMAX business strategy;
  • the costs and business risks associated with deploying a WiMAX network and offering products and services utilizing WiMAX technology;
  • the inability of third-party suppliers, software developers and other vendors to perform requirements and satisfy obligations necessary to create the products and software designed to support WiMAX features and functionality, under agreements with Sprint Nextel;
  • the impact of adverse network performance;
  • other risks referenced from time to time in the company's filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, including in the Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2006, in Part I, Item 1A, "Risk Factors" and subsequently filed quarterly reports on Form 10-Q.

Sprint Nextel believes the forward-looking statements in this press release are reasonable; however, you should not place undue reliance on forward-looking statements, which are based on current expectations and speak only as of the date of this release. Sprint Nextel is not obligated to publicly release any revisions to forward-looking statements to reflect events after the date of this release.

Source: Sprint Nextel

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Sprint WiMAX WaTCH: Will They Throttle?

The Consumerist and Gizmodo report that Sprint plants on placing caps and throttles on their WiMAX service. In other words: expect the same sort of soft caps on data usage and for data to potentially slow down when you go beyond it. Bad news, but may not so bad for Windows Mobile followers given that there won't actually be any smartphones released on the network in the foreseeable future anyway. Laptop cards on the newly live Baltimore portion of the network are working fine.

However, in our forums we're getting reader reports that Sprint claims they won't throttle data in any way, shape or form. The data service clocks in at $45 a month(see below), which isn't too bad but definitely doesn't feel as nice as their recent standard EVDO tethering price drop.

We were seriously hoping that with 4G, "unlimited" would really mean unlimited. If Sprint is serious about capping and throttling their XOHM service, we'll likely turn our lonely eyes to Verizon and AT&T's pending LTE services -- not that we'll see anything we like there on the bandwidth front, either.

Update: Draiko does us a solid in the comments: "Actually, the pricing for the first 6 months is $30 per month for mobile, $25 per month for home, and $50 per month for 2 devices. Much tastier." Tastier indeed.

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Sprint Ready for Two-Way Internet Video?

Although we're wont to complain about how Europeans have it better, coverage and services-wise, than we do here in the states, the reality is we're actually relatively happy with how data goes here -- unlimited FTW. One sore point, though, is that all that unlimited data still can't be used to two-way video conferencing in any widespread or reliable way. Enter Sprint, who is still trying to make the argument that they're not on their way to oblivion.

Cellular-News has the details on how Sprint announced that they will be delivering data speeds fast enough to handle two-way video conferencing. Its said to be used for mainly police, firefighters and schools, but it would only be a matter of time before your average Joe hooked up to some video chat. This all has to go through the red tape of the wireless regulators first, but it looks like it might just make it (hint to other companies: focusing on how your new service will help firefighters a good way to push it through committee). Now all Sprint has to do is get their WiMAX internet up and running smoothly.

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We have a new twist of events in our WiMAX WaTCH: Sprint, after ditching Clearwire, is back together with them again. That's not the crazy part, though, the crazy part is that Sprint, along with Clearwire, has managed to cobble together $3.2 Billion US in investment to create a band new company, also to be called Clearwire. The money's coming from various sources, inclding Google, Intel, Comcast, Time Warner Cable, and Bright House Networks.

In other words, it looks like Sprint is dropping XOHM in favor of using this new company (which they'll control 51% of, by the way), though it may be that they'll keep XOHM as the Sprint-branded version of Clearwire's WiMAX services. These services, by the way, will also be available to re-sell to other companies:

“We've made an excellent start developing XOHM WiMAX services. Contributing those advances to a strongly backed new company - in which we'll hold the largest interest - provides Sprint with additional financial flexibility and allows Sprint management to leverage and focus on our core business.
”Additionally, the agreements allowing the new company and our cable company investors to bundle and resell Sprint's third-generation wireless services strengthen the distribution of our current services while reducing the complexity and enhancing Sprint's cable relationships,“ Hesse added. -[Clearwire Press Release]

Given Sprint's many, many woes, it's to be expected that they would do something to shake things up a bit. It remains to be seen whether or not this is the right move, but it smells to us like Clearwire is going to just offer ”big fat pipe“ services for data and voice. We've been begging for that since the inception of WMExperts -- here's to hoping that the new company can offer that.

In any case, it's clear now why Sprint signed a deal to use Google's services on their future handsets, innit?

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