Cisco wins Clearwire WiMAX pact

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In the foregone conclusion department, Cisco has been selected by Clearwire to provide the IP infrastructure for Clearwire's 80 city/120 million user 4G mobile WiMAX rollout in the U.S. Cisco and Clearwire are already engaged in a WiMAX developer's testbed in the Valley, and a WiMAX patent alliance.

Still, it's Cisco's biggest WiMAX win after entering the market with 2007's acquisition of Navini Networks. Under the Clearwire deal, Cisco is also developing converged WiMAX/WiFi devices for consumers, and SoHo and SMB users.The operator is currently the target of complaints about slow service and an termination fee. If Cisco and its WiMAX gear help Clearwire deliver the service levels users expect, this will truly be a showcase account, and may lead to more WiMAX wins -- if anyone else is implementing mobile WiMAX for 4G service. LTE seems to have the upper hand with leading U.S. operators Verizon and AT&T, while struggling Sprint is partnered with Clearwire in mobile WiMAX.

But to make the win even sweeter, Cisco must help Clearwire clear up service and business issues with its users.

If Cisco can't improve Clearwire's service levels and operations, it could be a dark day for mobile WiMAX -- and for Clearwire, and Cisco's ambitions in the market.

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