SPRINT AND Clearwire have agreed to form a joint venture that will deliver wired broadband speeds to mobile users, perhaps by late 2008. The companies had charted separate paths to roll out mobile WiMax, a form of mobile broadband previously deployed in scattered places around the world. Widespread deployment of WiMax is about two years behind early predictions. Sprint and Clearwire’s WiMax rollout will likely offer speeds well above 5 mbps.
Pricing isn’t set.WiMax adapters should proliferate by 2009. Intel has backed WiMax since deciding in 2004 that existing cellular 3G plans could not meet its needs. Intel will build Centrino chips that have WiMax and Wi-Fi capability built in. Companies such as Motorola, Samsung, and Zyxel are committed to building fixed receivers for residences and businesses, as well as laptop and desktop adapters like PC Cards and ExpressCards. Ben Wolf , the CEO of the new service, estimates that Clearwire will be available to 120 to 140 million people by 2010. By then AT&T and Verizon should be rolling out LTE (Long Term Evolution), their 4G flavor, which will offer comparable speeds.