The USA based, Sprint Nextel and Clearwire have confirmed rumoured plans to jointly construct a nationwide WiMAX network, along with promoting CDMA-WiMAX handsets and shared infrastructure.
Sprint Nextel and Clearwire expect to build their respective portions of the nationwide network, and enable roaming between the respective territories. Additionally, the companies intend to exchange selected 2.5 GHz spectrum in order to optimize build-out, development and operation of the network.
The arrangement is subject to the execution of definitive agreements, which are expected to be finalized within the next 60 days. It is also subject to review by the Department of Justice, and approval of spectrum license assignments and transfers by the Federal Communications Commission.
"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," said Clearwire Chief Executive Officer Ben Wolff.
Under the network build-out plan, Sprint Nextel will focus its efforts primarily on geographic areas covering approximately 185 million people, including 75% of the people located in the 50 largest markets, while Clearwire will focus on areas covering approximately 115 million people. Initially, the two companies expect to build out network coverage to approximately 100 million people by the end of 2008, with seamless roaming enabled between the deployed areas.
The arrangement also will provide for the exchange of spectrum between Sprint Nextel and Clearwire to enable each company to build out its portion of the network and to enhance service in its build-out territory, as well as for the exchange of other assets associated with this spectrum. In addition, Clearwire will have the ability to utilize certain Sprint Nextel infrastructure.
Sprint Nextel and Clearwire will market mobile WiMAX services under a common service brand, and Clearwire will offer mobile WiMAX services in Clearwire's territories through Sprint Nextel's retail stores, and through its own distribution channels. Both companies will provide seamless reciprocal roaming service to each others' WiMAX customers, and Sprint Nextel plans to provide dual-mode (CDMA-WiMAX) services nationwide to its customers over both its own and Clearwire's portion of the WiMAX networks.
Sprint Nextel will take the lead in establishing relationships with national distributors and other potential strategic partners, including wholesale or MVNO arrangements. Clearwire will have the ability to offer Sprint Nextel's third generation voice and data services as part of a bundle or on a stand-alone basis to Clearwire's customers, which will also allow Clearwire to provide dual-mode services to its customers.
The initial term of the arrangement is 20 years, with three 10-year renewal periods. As previously announced, Sprint Nextel expects to commence the initial stage of its mobile WiMAX network deployments by year-end 2007 and both companies expect to launch commercial service in the first half of 2008."
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