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A Quick Thought

2:15 PM -- What exactly does it say about the relationship between Clearwire LLC (Nasdaq: CLWR) and Sprint Corp. (NYSE: S) when the McCaw venture won't let Sprint and Nokia Corp. (NYSE: NOK) use the temporary WiMax network that it and Motorola Inc. (NYSE: MOT) set up at the CTIA show? Nokia was forced to show off its new "WiMax" tablet using WiFi connections for its "Internet Cafe in the Sky" demo, which hoisted participants 180 feet into the air on a crane. (See Nokia's WiNot.) There's two possibilities here: One is that Clearwire and Motorola are still using the proto-WiMax technology that has allowed the operator to get ahead of the big boys with wireless broadband. (The Nokia box runs on the official 802.11e mobile WiMax.) The other is that Clearwire wouldn't allow Sprint and Nokia to use the network, which doesn't say much for the chances of a renewed joint venture between the operators. (See CTIA: Sprint's Samsung Touch.)

Whatever the case, it is not clear to me why Nokia or Sprint couldn't just put up their own WiMax base station to support the demo. Every vendor I spoke to at the show suggested that they would just need one small base station near the crane to make it happen. The only thing I can assume is that it interferred with the existing network or they just couldn't get the spectrum rights.

— Dan Jones, Site Editor, Unstrung

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