Clearwire is digging in: The company, majority owned by Sprint, is shaving expenses. This doesn't bode well. With aggressive competition for 4G services from AT&T and Verizon Wireless, cutting back seems to make less sense than trying to double down. Clearwire is laying off 15 percent of its staff and delaying new markets and handsets.
Clearwire had already said it was testing LTE, the alternative to WiMax. WiMax's chief advantage was that it was available long before production LTE gear, and could take advantage of broad channels that Clearwire and Sprint had available in spectrum they'd acquired. LTE is now coming to market, and will be the dominant 4G flavor worldwide, while WiMax has developed into a useful niche technology that could retain double-digit marketshare even when LTE is the powerhouse.
However, how can Clearwire redeploy in the middle of a cash crunch? Especially with $2b in debt and other obligations becoming due in 2011, as Stacey Higginbotham reports.