'Xohm' makes way for 'Clear,' as Sprint/Clearwire merger moves ahead

Questions such as "What is 'Xohm?'" and "How is 'Xohm' pronounced?" will now slowly disappear into history, as Sprint Nextel's 4G WiMAX network comes to be known as "Clear."

"Xohm" -- that old, hard to pronounce name for Sprint Nextel's WiMAX network -- will start fading away in favor of Clearwire's "Clear" brand name, now that the two partners are merging their 4G wireless assets.

With the deal approved early last month by the FCC, Clearwire on Friday held a conference call to spell out some of the details as to how the WiMAX-oriented merger will work. In taking over Sprint's 4G assets, Clearwire will also assume control of Sprint's Xohm network, said Clearwire CEO Benjamin Wolff.

As previously reported in BetaNews, the WiMAX merger announced in May will be partly funded by $3.2 billion in investments from Google, Intel, Comcast, Time Warner, and Bright House Networks. The FCC approved the merger on November 5.

Also last week, Clearwire defined the roles to be played by other partners in the merged WiMAX entity, which is expected to compete against future LTE offerings from AT&T and Verizon Wireless.

Sprint and the three cable providers investing in the deal will sell Clearwire's 4G services. Intel will manufacture and sell WiMAX chips for laptops, according to Wolff -- which only makes sense, since WiMAX is largely Intel's technology.

Google plans to tweak its Android mobile OS to support WiMAX mobile devices, in addition to producing software applications that will work with WiMAX.

Although Wolff declined comment on Friday about Clear's deployment plans, Sprint recently launched its first commercial Xohm service in sections of the city of Baltimore, MD. Meanwhile, Clearwire has been carrying out a small beta test of Clear in Portland, OR. Clearwire has previously told BetaNews that it hopes to expand into WiMAX commercial services in Oregon, Nevada, Georgia and Michigan during 2009.

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