According to a report today from the Wall Street Journal, Sprint and Clearwire’s ongoing feud over financial and technological commitments has been settled for now, with Sprint agreeing to four-year deal that includes a $1.6 billion cash infusion in the WiMax wholesaler.
Sprint’s commitment to building out an LTE network appears unchanged, which means that the wireless carrier will have to support two high-speed networks for the foreseeable future. The details of the agreement will allow Sprint to continue to sell lower-cost smartphones that run on the WiMax network while providing Clearwire with a much-needed capital infusion.
Sprint continues its inexorable march towards LTE and away from WiMax, announcing late last month that unlimited access to the Clearwire WiMax spectrum will no longer be offered to its mobile customers.
As a result, none of the three plans Sprint plans to offer will include unlimited WiMax, which is somewhat interesting, given their attempt to use unlimited 4G plans as a point of differentiation from VZW, AT&T and T-Mobile.
“Sprint is making these changes to help ensure we can continue to invest in areas that matter to our customers and that differentiate us from our competitors: simple and unlimited pricing plans, including unlimited data on the Sprint network without throttling for smartphones; cutting-edge selection of 4G, Android and other devices and strong customer service,” Sprint spokeswoman Emmy Anderson told FierceWireless.
One can read the above as “We don’t really want to continue to pay Clearwire for access to their WiMax spectrum, so we are going to try and figure a way to make the removal of same a net positive for our users.”
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