Final nail in the coffin for US WiMAX network; Clearwire switch-off to conclude on 31 March

2 Feb 2016

A Massachusetts state court has confirmed that Sprint Corp can finally begin shutting down its legacy Clearwire WiMAX network this week. According to Fierce Wireless the court has modified its initial November 2015 injunction – which required Sprint to keep its WiMAX network operational in 80 cities until 2 February 2016 – and introduced a phased shutdown instead. In accordance with the new ruling, Sprint is allowed to take the network offline in 16 cities, including New York City, from today (2 February). Another 39 cities are slated to be shut down on 29 February, including Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Nashville and Washington DC, with the final 25 cities going dark on 31 March. The last batch of markets includes the likes of Miami, Austin and Philadelphia.

As previously reported by TeleGeography’s CommsUpdate, in November 2015 the judge sided with two non-profit organisations that had brought legal proceedings against Sprint, alleging that the telco had violated the terms of their initial contracts by pushing them to accept its preferred LTE service, albeit on less favourable terms. The affected parties, Mobile Beacon and Mobile Citizen, hold Educational Broadband Service (EBS) spectrum licences and under Federal Communications Commission (FCC) rules they both leased a portion of their spectrum to Clearwire for 30 years in 2006 in exchange for the ability to provide unlimited, wireless broadband services to schools, libraries and non-profit organisations across the US.

United States, Clearwire, Sprint Corporation (now part of T-Mobile US)