Former LightSquared partner Elevate turns to Sprint and Clearwire

Score another apparent loss for LightSquared as small digital services firm Elevate announced it is expanding its existing MVNO agreement with Sprint Nextel (NYSE:S) to include access to Clearwire's (NASDAQ:CLWR) WiMAX network.

In December 2011, San Clemente, Calif.-based Elevate announced an MVNO partnership with LightSquared, and it also announced a 3G MVNO agreement with Sprint during the same month. LightSquared's planned LTE network has little chance of launching anytime soon, which has apparently led Elevate to extend its partnership with Sprint to also include WiMAX service via Clearwire. In December 2011, Sprint agreed to pay Clearwire $926 million for unlimited WiMAX access for its customers.

Elevate said adding the WiMAX amendments to its pact with Sprint will enable Elevate to include fixed and mobile broadband delivery in its portfolio, significantly enhancing Elevate's suite of services for 120 million consumers in 71 U.S. cities. Elevate said will be able to market WiMAX-based services on both a prepaid and postpaid basis, as it can with 3G.

"Now, with Sprint's 4G (WiMAX) infrastructure behind us, we are the only company able to sell every product in our Stack--voice, video, data, and home automation--to virtually every major population center in the country, with or without a phone line," said Wright Thurston, Elevate CEO. 

Clearwire has gained through LightSquared's misfortune. MVNO FreedomPop and MVNE Simplexity, both former LightSquared customers, have recently jumped into WiMAX partnerships with Clearwire. Former LightSquared customer Leap Wireless (NASDAQ:LEAP) also signed with Clearwire, but for future TD-LTE coverage. Clearwire intends to build out its TD-LTE network by June 2013.

Sprint, meanwhile, is also turning away from WiMAX. It is gearing up for its mid-year launch of LTE and will no longer introduce new WiMAX devices to its subscribers.

For more:
- see this Elevate release
- see this WirelessWeek article

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