Intel, Motorola Invest $900m in WiMAX

Intel and Motorola said Wednesday that they would invest $900 million in Kirkland, Wash. based Clearwire, a company that sells wireless access based on an early version of WIMAX technology In 26 markets. Intel will invest $600 million, while Motorola would purchase the company's hardware business, as well as contribute part of the remaining $300 million.

Clearwire owns the second biggest chunk of necessary frequencies for WiMAX next to Sprint Nextel. The technology is expected to offer a much longer range than currently available wireless technologies. Whereas Wi-Fi is limited to several hundred feet at most, WiMAX has a range of several miles.

The investment by Intel's venture capital arm is its biggest ever, and the company hopes it will spur the adoption of WiMAX worldwide. "Wi-Fi has become an essential part of people's lives. WiMAX is next. It is rapidly moving from a technology initiative to real deployments," Intel's Mobility Group executive vice president and general manager Sean Maloney said.

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"This investment in Clearwire will lay the foundation for high-speed mobile broadband services across North America," he continued.

Once the transaction completes, Motorola will supply the equipment for Clearwire's present and future deployments. Intel will assist in the effort by ensuring WiMAX technology appears in future products from the company. Together, the three said they will work to continue research and development on pre-WiMAX technologies.

As of last year, across Clearwire's markets the company counted nearly 62,000 subscribers. Its service is available in some 4.8 million households worldwide.

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