In a press release and conference call this morning, both Sprint Nextel and Clearwire have signed an agreement to jointly construct and deploy WiMax service in the US, confirming long-standing rumors of both companies working together on the new network.
Under the terms of the agreement, both Sprint Nextel and Clearwire will exchange spectrum to optimize network buildout, and focus on their respective markets. Sprint Nextel will focus on the top 50 markets and geographic areas totaling 185 million people, and Clearwire will focus on markets and areas totaling 115 million people.
Both companies will also work together on marketing, infrastructure support, development, operations, and allow roaming between both networks. Sprint Nextel is expected to offer devices with dual-mode CDMA/WiMax support, and is currently in the leading position for acquisition of access equipment and devices from manufacturers such as Nokia, Samsung, Motorola, ZTE, and Intel.
The joint network is expected to be nationwide by year-end 2008 and initially cover 100 million people, with no timeframe for the expanded network. Sprint Nextel will begin launching WiMax service at the end of this year in select markets.
The agreement is pending approval by the FCC and Department of Justice, expected to be completed within the next 60 days, as well as completion of definitive agreements between both companies.