WiMAX hasn’t been having a great last couple of months. This has given rise to predictions that Verizon and AT&T’s LTE 4G network would displace WiMAX as the nation’s foremost next generation network by sometime in 2012. To add to these woes, recent speed tests released by research analyst Walter Piecyk indicated that LTE ran at significantly faster rates than did WiMAX. All these events lead to rumors that Sprint would be dropping its WiMAX network once and for all and switching to LTE.
However, this appears to not be the case. It seems that Sprint and Clearwire have finally worked out their wholesale pricing issues. Sprint has responded by infusing $1 billion into Clearwire over the next year, no small gesture from a company struggling financially. Sprint has apparently decided to take a risk on WiMAX after all.
The deal will allow Clearwire to work out wholesale pricing on phones capable of running on both WiMAX and Sprint’s 4G network. The agreement is something of a godsend for Clearwire, whose financial difficulties have compelled it to let go of much of its senior management as well as curtail their retail industry. The injection of cash will allow them to focus on wholesale business and WiMAX, which it hopes to expand into additional markets in the US.
This is not to say that Sprint will definitely be spurning LTE forever – rumor has it that Sprint is considering entering talks with LightSquared, a company run similar to Clearwire but which focuses on LTE. Regardless, Clearwire can feel secure in the fact that Sprint will remain committed to them for the foreseeable future.