2008 Year in Review: The new Clearwire

The news: The rumors began intensifying in February that Intel would be investing $2 billion in the combination between Sprint's WiMAX business, Xohm, and Clearwire. The move would give WiMAX some much-needed support as a mobile broadband standard, but some looked at the possibility with skepticism.  

Ultimately, the deal to create the "new" Clearwire was a lot more complex and substantial than was initially thought. The final deal included $3.2 billion in investments from Intel, Google, Comcast, Time Warner Cable, Bright House Networks and Trilogy Equity Partners.

On Nov. 4, the FCC gave regulatory approval for the deal. On Nov. 20, Clearwire shareholders gave their assent, and on Dec. 1, Clearwire CEO Ben Wolff said that the Xohm brand name would be set aside in favor of "Clear."

Why it was significant:
The deal, with backing from major industry players, was a shot in the arm for the mobile WiMAX industry. With Long Term Evolution (LTE) technology emerging as the 4G standard of choice by Verizon Wireless and AT&T Mobility, and with more aggressive rollouts than had been expected planned for LTE, WiMAX needed all the help it could get to get off the ground. With the launch of Xohm in Baltimore in September, and an official celebration of it in October, WiMAX was off-and-running. The successful completion of the merger, and hopeful prospects about its national deployment over the next few years certainly indicated to the wireless community, especially those backing LTE, that yes, WiMAX is here, and it's here to stay.