Sprint open to boosting Clearwire investment

Sprint CEO Dan Hesse called the WiMax venture's woes an accounting issue

Sprint Nextel CEO Dan Hesse downplayed the financial problems of Clearwire on Tuesday, and said Sprint may yet invest more money in the company.

Last week, Clearwire announced it would take several significant steps to conserve cash, including laying off 15 per cent of its workforce and forgoing marketing and retail stores in some upcoming network launches. The moves were announced as the company reported a third-quarter loss of $US139 million. Sprint owns just over 50 per cent of Clearwire and resells access to its WiMax network.

Clearwire has said it is in discussions with its major shareholders and third parties to secure funding for network expansion beyond its current build plan. In answer to a reporter's question at the Open Mobile Summit in San Francisco, Hesse characterized Clearwire's moves as a required response to accounting rules.

"If you get to the point where you don't have 12 months of cash in the till, even if you've got negotiations going on, or what have you, you have to, from an accounting perspective, say you have a going-concern issue," Hesse said.

"That doesn't mean that Sprint and other partners won't continue to fund Clearwire," he said.

All mobile operators are struggling with how to make more money, Hesse said. One growing problem is that devices are becoming both more costly and more important for attracting and keeping subscribers, he said. Carriers are subsidizing $600 devices to bring prices down below $200, he said.

"Subsidies are going through the roof in our industry," Hesse said. About 60 per cent of the new devices Sprint is selling now are smartphones, he said.

Meanwhile, Sprint is looking toward future generations of WiMax for faster network speeds and lower latency, Hesse said. The next step beyond Clearwire's current technology will have as much as three times the speed and shorter delays, Hesse said. He called it WiMax 1.5 or IEEE 802.16-plus, an apparent reference to IEEE 802.16e-2009.

WiMax 1.5 appeared in the middle of a road-map slide in his presentation that showed the current WiMax 1.0 on the left and WiMax 2.0, or 802.16m, on the right. The 1.5 version will boost speeds to between 40M bps (bits per second) and 150M bps, while WiMax 2.0 will deliver 128Mbps to 360Mbps.

Those capacities apparently are to be shared among all the users near a base station, because the slide listed the current WiMax at 25Mbps to 50Mbps. (Clearwire advertises average real-world speeds of 3Mbps to 6Mbps.)

"We're testing the one, actually, in the middle, which should give much faster speeds," Hesse said. He didn't specify whether it is Clearwire or Sprint itself that is testing the technology. The slide showed WiMax 1.5 in the 2011-12 time frame.

Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags WiMaxtelecommunicationNetworkingwirelesssprint nextelmobileClearwire

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Stephen Lawson

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Essentials

Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive

Learn more >

Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop

Learn more >

Mobile

Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive 

Learn more >

Exec

Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones

Learn more >

Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive 

Learn more >

HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450

Learn more >

Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards 

Learn more >

Budget

Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?