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Upstart MVNO FreedomPop
today announced that the company is expanding its free-based business model further by running it over Sprint's 3G network. The company's efforts had previously been hamstrung by the fact their service was only available via Clearwire's network. The Sprint deal provides the company with significantly broader coverage, and FreedomPop plans to piggyback on Sprint's LTE network later this year.
The company has turned heads by offering users 500 MB of data per month for free. Users then have the option to buy additional buckets of 2 GB or 4 GB at rates the company claims are 50% cheaper than AT&T or Verizon, with no contract.
Reviews have been decidedly mixed when it comes to signal strength, speeds and connection reliability -- though much of that has been courtesy of Clearwire's limited footprint. Users also complain about a $2.99 per month "service charge" that technically makes FreedomPop's base tier cheap, but not free.
To access the Sprint network, FreedomPop is selling a mobile hotspot named the Overdrive Pro
Numerous Verizon executives are on record stating that Verizon has more than enough spectrum to deploy LTE nationally -- before
Verizon nabbed another massive swath of spectrum from the cable industry. Studies
have shown Verizon has plenty of spectrum, particularly after re-farming spectrum currently being used for 2G and 3G (EVDO) services.
The FCC this week stated that Softbank's $20 billion acquisition of Sprint is on track for a late May ruling, with all signs pointing to approval. The FCC's 180 day "shot clock" for approval ends on May 29. story continues..
Making Dish network's already unlikely Clearwire takeover bid
even less likely, Clearwire this week announced that they will be taking more Sprint money after all. According to a company press release
, Clearwire will be getting an $80 million payment from Sprint on top of the $2.97-per-share existing offer by Sprint to acquire the rest of Clearwire. Dish had previously stated they'd withdraw their own $3.30-per-share counter-offer if Clearwire accepted that funding. Despite the fact the Sprint financing means the Dish deal is likely dead, Clearwire continues to insist they're engaged in ongoing negotiations with Dish.
Broadband Reports has confirmed that Clearwire is testing new tiered pricing plans in several new markets. Clearwire's new trial pricing plans offer users 2 GB of usage for $20, 40 GB of usage for $40, or an unlimited offering for $60. story continues..
From the "well that's incredibly unsurprising" department comes news that Sprint is in talks with Clearwire to acquire the 49% of the company it currently doesn't already own. Anonymous sources tell CNBC
that while deal "is not imminent," talks are ongoing and a deal could be announced by the end of the year (which sounds somewhat imminent to me).
Anonymous sources tell Bloomberg News
that Sprint has no plans (yet) to fully acquire Clearwire after Sprint itself was recently acquired by Japanese carrier SoftBank. Sprint currently owns a 49% stake in Clearwire and faces no pressure for full ownership given they've already paid Clearwire $900 million to lease needed spectrum.
Numerous users have written in to note that Clearwire's e-mail systems suffered a glitch last Friday resulting in users getting numerous e-mails stating they hadn't paid their bills. Some users complain that they received e-mails saying they didn't pay -- despite having cancelled their service months earlier. story continues..
Clearwire says the company will begin building their TD-LTE network during this quarter, with plans to significantly ramp up the build by the fourth quarter of this year. Speaking at an investment conference this week
, Clearwire re-iterated that their goal is to have 5,000 LTE cell sites up and running by June of 2013. The company had previously suggested they would start the build in the first quarter of this year, claiming
that their LTE network will be capable of top theoretical speeds of 168 Mbps downstream. Clearwire will of course be needing money and some new investors; Google offloaded their investment in the company in the first quarter, and Time Warner Cable sold their 7.8% stake this week
Earthlink has returned from the somewhat dead to partner with Clearwire for a new wireless project. Earthlink of course has failed utterly to remain relevant to the broadband market, despite ventures in MVNOs, municipal Wi-Fi, and broadband over powerline. A joint press statement
indicates that Earthlink's again putting a toe into the wireless broadband waters, striking a wholesale arrangement with Clearwire that will allow them to offer high-speed fixed and mobile broadband service using Clearwire's 4G network under the Earthlink brand. EarthLink's wireless service will initially target consumers for in-home use, and is expected to launch in early 2013 says the companies. Future product offerings will "include mobile devices and new services for small business customers," says the statement.
A Sprint continues with their multi-billion LTE deployment and base station retrofit
, they're also slowly shuttering the company's push-to-talk iDen network. In the process however, they're apparently taking some of Clearwire's Mobile WiMax network offline as well. Light Reading
directs our attention to the fact that Sprint has already decommissioned 9,600 iDEN cell sites this year, and because some Clearwire WiMax gear is housed alongside it -- WiMax hardware as well. "Clearwire has wholesale customers offering service on its WiMax network that were likely counting on another couple of years left in the network -- or at least to be supported until Clearwire's own (LTE) network is up and running mid-next year," notes the website. Neither the website or Sprint have provided just how many WiMax cell sites will be sacrificed to the upgrade gods.
Hoping not to be forgotten with all the moving and shaking and LTE deployments going on with Sprint, AT&T and Verizon, Clearwire took to the CTIA trade show earlier this month to proclaim that they're building an LTE network they hope will put all of them to shame
. According to Clearwire, the company says that by 2014, they'll have a network capable of handling peak downstream speeds of up to 168 Mbps downstream. Clearwire says that while they're spectrum holdings for a nationwide LTE launch aren't ideal, they'll be using an LTE-Advanced technique know as carrier aggregation to deploy wider pipes capable of the faster speeds. You'll of course never actually see anything close to those maximum theoretical speeds, but hopefully the effort keeps Clearwire relevant in a market that desperately needs the added competition.
by Revcb Monday 14-May-2012
by Revcb Monday 02-Apr-2012
by Revcb Friday 23-Mar-2012
Sprint finally got the iPhone last fall, but they had to pay a fortune for it: Sprints 10-K report filed last month confirmed Sprint will pay at least $15.5 billion just to start
, and will take a massive hit on profitability for some time. Still, Sprint CEO Dan Hesse insists it was the right thing to do in order to remain competitive with AT&T and Verizon.
Clearwire should benefit greatly from the fact that LightSquared's 35 wholesale partners are now looking for a new home
. Clearwire has made it, uh, clear that the company is primarily now going to be a wholesale company with retail operations an afterthought. Today the company announced a new five year network sharing deal with Leap Wireless and Cricket
, the second agreement Clearwire has signed for their upcoming LTE network. Clearwire says they should have the first 5,000 of these upgraded LTE sites operational by June of 2013. Leap meanwhile hopes to cover 25 million people with LTE by the end of 2012.
by Revcb Tuesday 13-Mar-2012
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Recent news contributorsKarl Bode , JKukiewicz , swintec