Clearwire Taps Cisco For 4G WiMAX Network


The two companies on Wednesday said the alliance was forged to enhance and expand CLEAR 4G mobile WiMAX services nationwide. As part of the agreement, Cisco will be the national IP Next-Generation Network core infrastructure provider.

On the heels of the pairing, Cisco said it plans to build new mobile WiMAX devices for the CLEAR 4G mobile WiMAX service for consumers, small offices, home offices and SMBs. Cisco's first mobile WiMAX device is expected later this year, Cisco said. Cisco first entered the WiMAX market in October 2007 with the acquisition of Navini Networks.

Clearwire and Cisco said that the multiyear partnership will include a build-out plan to deliver WiMAX to major metropolitan areas in the U.S. Clearwire's open all-IP network, combined with its spectrum holdings, provides the network capacity to deliver the next-generation broadband access. Currently, Clearwire offers mobile WiMAX service in Baltimore and Portland, Ore., with plans to deliver 4G service to more than 80 markets by the end of 2010.

"By teaming with Cisco, one of the world's most forward-looking IP network infrastructure providers, we're building a robust and cost-efficient next-generation network that's designed specifically for delivering rich broadband services," said Scott Richardson, chief strategy officer of Clearwire, in a statement. "In addition, Cisco plans to develop WiMAX technology for end-user devices, which will give consumers and businesses more compelling ways to stay connected through our CLEAR 4G service."

Sponsored post

The two companies are also founding members of the Open Patent Alliance (OPA), a consortium formed last June to advance a competitive, open intellectual rights model to stimulate a larger WiMAX industry that supports innovation through broader choice and lower equipment and service costs globally.

Along with Cisco releasing a new WiMAX and Wi-Fi gear, Cisco said that the Clearwire deal will also see new products from its consumer Linksys by Cisco arm. Cisco said it also plans to grow its WiMAX portfolio as the 4G network proliferates. Cisco and Clearwire will work together developing and implementing go-to-market plans that will benefit from Cisco's distribution channels and presence with businesses and consumers.

"Clearwire's ecosystem of partners, coupled with our all-IP next-generation network, will deliver a true mobile broadband experience," Ned Hooper, senior vice president, corporate development and consumer groups of Cisco, said in a statement. "In addition, incorporating WiMAX into our products will help enable people to move freely throughout the United States, while maintaining continuous connectivity to personalized applications and services."

Cisco said that Clearwire, which is 51 percent owned by Sprint Nextel, is in the process of testing and certifying a Cisco IP Next-Generation Network architecture that includes Cisco 7600 Series Internet routers, Cisco ONS 15454 and Cisco ONS 15310 platforms, Cisco ASA Firewalls and the Cisco Service and Application Module for IP Home Agent.

In addition to their 4G WiMAX partnership, Clearwire and Cisco also recently announced their involvement in forming the WiMAX Innovation Network for developers, which will cover more than 20 square miles in the Silicon Valley at the offset.

The developers' network will bring 4G wireless service to campuses of some of the world's leading technology innovators, including early participants like Google and Intel. Cisco will also provide the core infrastructure to support the WiMAX Innovation Network, which is expected to be available to developers late this summer to give them a head start on the Bay Area's commercial service launch planned for 2010. Service on that network will be available for free for a year to a limited number of qualified developers. In addition, Clearwire will provide WiMAX USB Modems for $50.