There are many partial truths that are circulating among the press and analyst opinions. Below are a few:
- Clearwire's network is Sprint's. The WiMax radio and core network is entirely engineered, constructed, owned, and operated by Clearwire. Each of the "home" owners customer traffic as well as other MVNO partners (Best Buy, Locus, Cbeyond, and Mitel) is routed from Clearwire's network each each of these partner's networks.
- Sprint has the core skills to operate a 4G backhaul network. It is clear that with the struggles that Dragonwave has in attracting new domestic customers, the four national wireless players don't value microwave as a backhaul solution for cell site data traffic, and lack experience in operating this portion of the all IP network.
- As Clearwire stated on their investor call yesterday, only 40% of their 16,000 cell sites are located at the same sites that Sprint operates from. These would be the only locations that have access to 4G backhaul and it only backhauls to the WiMax switching location, not to a location that Sprint controls.
Attached is a photograph from Sprint's Network Vision webpage. The top picture shows a 4G site (the short cabinet on the left) co-located with a Sprint 3G site. In this picture Sprint and Clearwire appear to be separate tenants of the tower owner since they don't appear to be sharing any common elements (power systems, cables, ground space, backhaul, or antennas.)