United States federal regulators today gave Sprint Nextel the green light to spin off and merge its XOHM mobile broadband network with that of Clearwire. The XOHM brand is expected to remain as the new entity takes shape. A Clearwire shareholder vote is planned for later this month.
In a unanimous 5-0 vote Tuesday, the Federal Communications Commission approved a plan to combine Sprint's mobile WiMAX network with Clearwire's pre-WiMAX network. Google Inc., Intel Corp. and a group of cable companies are contributing investors into the $14.6 billion venture, which will carry Clearwire's name. The Department of Justice indicated that it will allow the deal to proceed, but will continue to monitor it for anti-competitive practices.
XOHM's first market, Baltimore, accepted its first revenue-bearing customers in October. Washington D.C. and Chicago have been in market test for several months with plans for customer readiness in the next seven weeks. The cities of Boston and Dallas already have WiMAX base stations operating and Baltimore customers can roam into these markets today.