Clearwire says it's not married to WiMAX for 4G, would be easy to switch
WiMAX harder in the US than Clearwire -- but the commitment doesn't run as deep as you might think. Investing billions in a 4G network that goes brashly against the popular LTE grain is a huge gamble since Clearwire and its partners won't be able to throw as much weight around with manufacturers or achieve the same economies of scale that LTE carriers will, but these guys were smart: CEO Bill Morrow claims that the company has unprecedented flexibility built into its infrastructure, and he's willing to switch gears if LTE or something else ends up burying WiMAX down the road. Boasting that "we're the only carrier that can do this," Morrow says that a move to LTE would be a simple software upgrade for much of its equipment, meaning Clearwire could almost literally change technologies overnight and with minimum expense -- we're sure it'd still put a strain on the bank, but it theoretically wouldn't be as ambitious as changing from CDMA 1X to GSM, for example. Of course, the company's still got all its eggs in one basket for the moment with a clear commitment to WiMAX -- but from a shareholder perspective, it's at least good to know that it's easy to move the eggs.
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