Clearwire Breaks Into VOIP Market

Clearwire LLC (Nasdaq: CLWR) has been successfully delivering wireless broadband services to its customers for several years. Now, it will also try to add voice to that mix.

Using Nortel Networks Ltd. servers, Clearwire hopes to deliver VOIP services for the first time over its own network infrastructure. (See Clearwire Chooses Nortel.) It currently leases this capability through carrier partnerships. Now Clearwire feels it's ready to do it on its own.

Clearwire will be deploying Nortel's Application Server 5200 and Communication Server 2000 into its data centers to make itself VOIP capable.

Nortel's 5200 server, using SIP, will be the brains of the Clearwire voice network. The 2000 server communicates with the PSTN and handles all the long distance and local number portability functions.

Clearwire's core business is wireless broadband and that is not about to change with its move into VOIP. Calls placed to Clearwire customers will still reach the customers' homes through a wireless connection that is converted to Ethernet once inside the home.

Clearwire will begin marketing this new service to the voice customers it has through its carrier partnerships and then eventually look to expand the service to its entire customer base.

Nortel says this move into VOIP by Clearwire is only the first step in what will be a big expansion of its products and services. "Nortel works very closely with the carriers that are out there to help them evolve their network and take them to the next step," says Robert Scheible, senior manager of VOIP product marketing for Nortel.

"This is not a final capability when they purchase a solution like this. This is really just a stepping stone to even further broaden offerings from their networks," says Scheible.

Future service offerings on Clearwire's network could include fixed/mobile convergence and other multimedia services, such as video delivery.

— Raymond McConville, Reporter, Light Reading

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