Elevate expands Sprint MVNO deal, adds WiMAX
Elevate said today it will use Clearwire's WiMAX network for fixed and mobile broadband services through an expanded MVNO deal with Sprint.
The company had planned to use LightSquared's now-stalled wholesale mobile broadband service, but the indefinite delays in the company's LTE network have apparently sent it looking elsewhere.
It will sell Clearwire’s WiMAX service under its own brand to offer its "Stack" products – voice, video, data and home automation – in "virtually every major metropolitan center in the country."
Elevate signed up for LightSquared's service late last year. It did not say in today's announcement whether it has canceled its previous arrangements and could not be reached for additional comment.
LightSquared's downfall seems to have benefitted Clearwire. LightSquared had more than 30 customers left in the lurch by the FCC's decision to block it from moving forward, and some have turned to Clearwire as an alternative. It has forged WiMAX deals with former LightSquared customers FreedomPop and Simplexity and recently signed up Leap Wireless International to its yet-un-built TD-LTE network.
Sprint's updated agreement with Clearwire now allows it to sell wholesale access to Clearwire's WiMAX network, as well as its own CDMA network.
Sprint and Elevate first signed an MVNO agreement for access to its 3G network in December of last year. The deal with Elevate appears to be the first MVNO customer Sprint has signed up to Clearwire's network.
Clearwire is chasing wholesale WiMAX customers ahead of Sprint's plan to stop using the network in favor of its own LTE service. Sprint is both Clearwire's largest shareholder and largest wholesale customer – Sprint smartphone users account for a substantial portion of Clearwire's revenue.