Clearwire Pulls Cisco Into WiMax Fold

Cisco Systems will be the primary Internet-protocol networking-equipment supplier for Clearwire's nationwide WiMax mobile broadband service and the vendor plans to roll out new WiMax devices later this year, under a deal announced Wednesday.

Financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

Clearwire's investors include Comcast, Time Warner Cable, Bright House Networks, Sprint Nextel, Google and Intel. At the end of 2008, Clearwire had about 475,000 wireless broadband subscribers. The company officially merged its operations with Sprint's 4G business last November.

Clearwire currently provides mobile WiMax service, under the Clear brand name, in Baltimore, Md., and in Portland, Ore., where Comcast expects to being reselling the service. The company plans to launch WiMax in more than 80 U.S. markets by the end of 2010.

Other key equipment vendors for Clearwire include Motorola and Samsung, which have supplied WiMax base stations to the carrier.

Under the agreement with Cisco, Clearwire has selected and is in the process of testing and certification of a Cisco IP Next Generation Network architecture that includes Cisco 7600 Series Internet routers, Cisco ONS 15454 and Cisco ONS 15310 optical-networking platforms, Cisco firewalls and the Cisco Service and Application Module for IP (SAMI) Home Agent.

As part of the partnership, Cisco plans to developed converged WiMax- and Wi-Fi-enabled devices under its Linksys line of consumer routers. Cisco and Clearwire said they will jointly develop and implement go-to-market plans using Cisco's existing distribution channels to market Clearwire's mobile WiMax services.

"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," Clearwire chief strategy officer Scott Richardson said 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."

Cisco also recently announced that it is supplying mobile WiMax infrastructure to Russian wireless provider Scartel; Georgian mobile operator MagtiComp; and AsiaBell's mobile WiMax service in central Kazakhstan.

"Around the globe, mobile WiMax providers continue to make great strides bringing 4G mobile Internet services to market, and we are pleased that Clearwire has selected Cisco to help untether its Internet customers across the United States while delivering high performance," said Brett Galloway, senior vice president of Cisco's wireless and security technology group.

In addition, Clearwire and Cisco recently announced their involvement in forming the "WiMax Innovation Network" for developers, which will initially cover more than 20 square miles in Silicon Valley. The network will bring 4G wireless service to the campuses of Google and Intel by late summer of this year, ahead of Cleawire's commercial launch in the Bay Area planned for 2010.

Clearwire and Cisco are founding members of the Open Patent Alliance, a consortium of companies formed in June 2008 to advance an open intellectual-property rights model and stimulate the WiMax industry.