Chalk up another delay for Clearwire and Sprint’s national WiMAX network. In its push to bring WiMAX coverage to half of the US population by 2010, Clearwire sought investments from industry heavy-weights like Intel, Google and Time Warner. Unfortunately, the $3.2 billion already invested into the WiMAX network isn’t enough to meet Clearwire’s goals. Bloomberg is reporting that Clearwire is looking to fill a $2 billion funding hole in order to continue its WiMAX network expansion across the US.
Network expansion plans are apparently on hold until Clearwire can find the money to pay to fund the endeavour. The delay puts Clearwire and its investors in a precarious position against up-and-coming 4G LTE networks from the likes of AT&T and Verizon Wireless. WiMAX has been expected to beat LTE networks to the punch, giving the slower wireless data network a first-to-market advantage. But, this latest delay puts the entire future of WiMAX in doubt. We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again – Sprint and Clearwire have to go nationwide with WiMAX at least a year before LTE comes online, or they risk becoming irrelevant in a crowded wireless market.
With LTE expected to go live on Verizon Wireless’s network in the second half of 2010, Clearwire’s WiMAX aspirations may be doomed.