The newly merged wireless broadband provider Clearwire will act independently of its investors, said Chief Executive Officer Benjamin Wolff on Monday.
Clearwire shareholders approved the company’s merger with Sprint Nextel’s WiMAX business 10 days ago. It remained for the deal-checkers to finalize the transaction that was first announced seven months ago and then declare the deal done.
The deal includes $3.2 billion cash investment from Comcast, Intel, Google and Bright House Networks. But Wolff said Clearwire has "very little in common" with a joint venture and "will function as an independent company with an independent board and an independent management team."
"Clearwire is independent from major shareholders," Wolff said.
Among its management team is Barry West, former head of Sprint’s broadband wireless Xohm service, who will serve as Clearwire’s president and chief network architect.
As one sign of independence, Wolff said Clearwire would drop the Xohm brand in favor of "Clear." Sprint unveiled Xohm in Chicago 14 months ago. (For more on that launch, click here.) In September 2008, Sprint launced Xohm with great fanfare in Baltimore.
Clearwire has deployed pre-WiMAX wireless technology in about 50 markets and aims to convert those to WiMAX or what it calls a 4G (fourth generation) technology.
"We will be prudently deploying 4G networks over the coming months," said Wolff.
Defending Clearwire’s choice for standards-based, mobile WiMAX technology against another 4G standard called Long Term Evolution (LTE), Wolff said WiMAX is "the only one available today for deployment."
At the same time, because the two technologies have "a lot in common," Wolff indicated that they could coexist. "This isn’t a technology war that some have made it out to be," he said.
For more on the status of WiMAX and background to today’s deal closing, click here.
– Jonathan Tombes
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