Sprint Nextel and Clearwire are working hard to promote their incipient national WiMAX network, first by arranging a patent pool to ensure that patent licensing issues will not impede vendors from making WiMAX equipment, and then by vowing to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) that the network will become the so-called third pipe that many, including the FCC, hope to see develop in the U.S.

The companies joining the patent pool are Cisco Systems, Intel, Alcatel-Lucent, Samsung Electronics, Sprint Nextel and Clearwire (soon to become part of Sprint).

Sprint and Clearwire still need federal approval for their proposed merger. Making their case for being allowed to combine, they vowed their WiMAX network would be an open-platform WiMAX service.

“The transaction will make the promise of an alternative broadband platform, or 'third pipe,' a near-term reality . . .” Sprint and Clearwire said.

The $14.5 billion venture, which will be called Clearwire, includes Sprint, Comcast, Time Warner Cable, Bright House Networks, Intel and Google.

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