Clearwire says it's not wedded to WiMAX

Having solidified its merger with Sprint's Xohm WiMAX business and secured the $3.2 billion investment from Comcast, Time Warner, Bright House Networks, Intel and Google, Clearwire CEO Ben Wolff announced his company will go to market with WiMAX service branded "Clear" and noted that the company would also consider deploying LTE down the road.

"Mobile WiMAX and LTE have a lot in common--far more in common than either of these technologies have with today's 2G or 3G technologies," Wolff said during a conference call. "Consumers really don't care about the technology."

According to Wolff, "if it makes sense for us to do so several years from now when LTE becomes commercially available" the carrier will go in two 4G technology directions.

Clearwire also announced that Sprint's Xohm market in Baltimore will be rebranded as Clear, but the 46 pre-WiMAX networks already operating under the Clearwire brand will continue to carry that name. The assumption is they will be rebranded Clear once mobile WiMAX is ready in those markets. Clearwire also announced it will roll out commercial mobile WiMAX in Portland, Ore. early next year.

 "Several additional markets are in various stages of design, development and construction," Wolff said. These include existing Sprint markets that have been under way in the planning and development stages.

"At this point one of our most important tasks is to integrate these assets with ours," Wolff said. "We intend to share more details about our network expansion plans early next year after we've had an opportunity to meet with our new board to discuss our new products."

In the meantime, he said, Clearwire will "dedicate most of our focus" to building a common back office system and deploying new markets based on common infrastructure.

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