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April 24, 2006

Clearwire watch

Posted by Tricia Duryee at 2:17 PM

Clearwire quietly purchased Winbeam of Pennsylvania last week to expand its presence on the East Coast.

The Kirkland company run by Craig McCaw, the wireless guru who founded what later became AT&T Wireless, is quietly amassing enough spectrum to roll out WiMax-like service in many cities across the U.S.

To date, the company has rolled out wireless broadband in as many as 30 markets in the U.S. and more than 200 across the world. With the Winbeam acquisition, Clearwire now owns 2.5 GHz frequency spectrum in portions of Maryland, New York, Pennsylvania and Virginia.

Winbeam is now a wholly owned subsidiary of Clearwire.

"The combination of Winbeam's engineering expertise, executive team and spectrum coverage area complements Clearwire's deployment efforts," said Ben Wolff, Clearwire's co-president and chief strategy officer, in a statement released by Winbeam.

In the U.S., Clearwire owns or has rights to the second-most spectrum in this band, trailing Sprint Nextel. Clearwire is also working with Sprint Nextel to lease spectrum where it may have excess capacity. That's no surprise given McCaw played a huge role in turning around the once-troubled Nextel Communications.

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Tricia Duryee
Tricia Duryee
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