Analyst: Sprint-Clearwire deal «very positive» for Wimax

13 May 2008

The joint venture between Sprint and Clearwire bear positive news for Wimax, according to ABI Research.

The $12 billion joint venture, which bears the Clearwire brand, has stakeholders in Google, Intel and three US cable companies Comcast, Time Warner and Bright House.

'Wimax has been moving forward in developing countries. But in the industrialized nations, the industry was waiting for Sprint to get the ball rolling," said ABI Research principal analyst Philip Solis.

Solis said the entry of chipset and equipment companies has added financial muscle into the joint venture.

'What's particularly interesting is the participation of the cable companies,' Solis continued. 'Competing against telcos that have moved into their video markets, they have long wanted wireless in their portfolios. Now they are part-owners of a mobile wireless network.'

However, he said the cable companies still need a mobile voice solution which will not be immediately resolved by deploying a Wimax network.

Nadine Manjaro, ABI senior analyst, said this joint venture also solidifies Sprint's support for Wimax.

Manjaro said: "Verizon recently announced its plans to deploy LTE in 2010, and since Wimax was said to enjoy a two year time-to-market lead, everybody was waiting for Sprint to solidify that advantage."

"With this announcement, Sprint can claim that it is doing so,' she added.

Other winners from this announcement are Wimax chipset makers as well as Samsung, Nokia and Motorola, which were selected to provide infrastructure for the new Wimax network.

However, Manjaro said the challenge will be how each party in the joint venture deals with issues such as the cannibalization of some of their existing products.

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