Clearwire to Offer WiMax Phones

sprint and other investors give clearwire 1 5b in financing logo

During a call with analysts to discuss the company’s first quarter financial results, Clearwire revealed it plans to launch its first 4G WiMax mobile handsets this year, with the first two models coming from Samsung and HTC. The Samsung device will be running Android, will also sport Wi-Fi and 3G connectivity, and will be “optimized” for heavy video applications, including video communication. The HTC device will also feature 3G and Wi-Fi connectivity, but the company didn’t specify what mobile operating system it might be running.

The phones will bear Clearwire’s own brand—Clear—and Clearwire CEO William Morrow as clear that the HTC device will not be the HTC Evo. The company did not offer any additional information on pricing details or when the phones might be available.

In its quarter earnings call, Clearwire also announced Clearwire and Intel have changed the terms of their technology agreement so Clearwire has additional flexibility to end a licensing agreement. The upshot is that Clearwire will more easily be able to add technologies like LTE to its network that had previously been limited under the deal. Although Sprint is Clearwire’s majority shareholder, Intel is also a major investor.

Clearwire also announced it plans to roll out additional WiMax coverage in 19 new markets in two phases. The first phase—set for summer 2010—includes Syracuse, Nashville, Daytona, and Orlando. Later in 2010, Clearwire says it will be able to light up service in major new markets including New York City, Los Angeles, Boston, San Francisco, Miami, Denver, Cleveland, Cincinnati, and Pittsburgh.

Clearwire wrapped its first quarter with a $94.1 million loss on revenue of $106.7 million. However, the company’s subscriber base has grown to 971,000 and its revenues are up 72 percent compared to a year ago.