Hesse: WiMAX will reach 140M potential customers by 2010

Sprint Nextel CEO Dan Hesse said he anticipates the company's WiMAX network, which is expected to be combined with Clearwire shortly, to reach 140 million potential customers by 2010. Hesse, speaking at a National Press Club luncheon last week in Washington, D.C., said he expects a combined company to obtain regulatory approval and officially combine by the end of the year. The FCC is expected to vote on the deal on Nov. 4.

He said Sprint chose WiMAX as a 4G standard because it is "available now and our customers want 4G now." He was confidentWiMAX would minimize the market penetration of LTE simply because WiMAX is coming to market first. The company has deployed WiMAX in Baltimore and plans to deploy it in Chicago, Dallas, Philadelphia and Washington, D.C., pending the close of the deal. 

After another tough week in the financial markets, Hesse also addressed concerns about how the downturn in the economy would affect the wireless industry. He noted that the industry will likely see a decrease in enterprise subscribers as businesses lay off workers, but said that Sprint was in a good position because it was cash-flow positive.

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