Bell Canada and Clearwire Corporation Form Alliance
MONTREAL and SEATTLE, March 8 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Bell Canada and Clearwire Corporation today announced an alliance through which Bell Canada will become Clearwire's exclusive strategic partner for VoIP and certain other value-added IP services and applications in the United States. Bell Canada will also become Clearwire's preferred provider of these services and applications in markets beyond North America. Clearwire, a privately held company led by telecommunications pioneer Craig O. McCaw, offers advanced IP- based wireless broadband communications services in the US and other key international markets.
Clearwire's core offering is a non line-of-sight (NLOS) wireless broadband data service that uses technology provided by NextNet, a Clearwire subsidiary, to allow customers "nomadic" Internet access. "Nomadic" refers to the ability to access the Internet from any place within the service area that has a power supply. First launched in Jacksonville, Florida in the summer of 2004, its competitive speeds (up to 1.5 Mbps) and prices have met with strong customer acceptance. Clearwire subsequently launched services in Abilene, Texas, St. Cloud, Minnesota and Daytona Beach, Florida, and plans to enter a number of additional markets across the United States in 2005, as well as in Europe. Clearwire targets the consumer, small business and small office-home office markets. As Clearwire's VoIP partner, Bell Canada will manage the deployment and operation of Clearwire's US VoIP offering.
"Wireless broadband will be an increasingly important access technology in the next generation of telecommunications," said Michael Sabia, CEO of Bell Canada. "In Craig McCaw and his Clearwire team, we are partnering with an innovator who has a proven track record for delivering wireless initiatives and is today a clear leader in wireless broadband. This alliance is a good opportunity for Bell Canada to develop our wireless broadband capabilities for our home market and leverage our VoIP expertise."
In addition to being Clearwire's partner for VoIP, Bell Canada will invest US $100 million in Clearwire and Michael Sabia will join Clearwire's board of directors.
Bell Canada also announced it will become a shareholder in Mr. McCaw's NR Communications, which, together with Microcell, is one of the two partners in the Inukshuk Joint Venture. The venture is using NextNet technology to deliver NLOS plug-and-play broadband wireless access. Inukshuk was launched in 2003 to provide wireless high speed Internet access across Canada using spectrum in the 2.5 GHz range. Services based on the technology will deliver data and voice applications to communities throughout the country.
"Wireless broadband technology promises to deliver the advantages of high speed Internet services to Canadians," said Mr. Sabia. "As a new partner in the joint venture, Bell Canada will actively work with the parties involved, including Industry Canada, to ensure that the benefits of this technology are available to Canadians - including those living in remote and currently unserved areas - as quickly as possible."
Closing of these transactions is subject to customary conditions, as well as applicable regulatory approvals.
CAUTION CONCERNING FORWARD-LOOKING STATEMENTS:
Certain statements made in this news release are forward-looking and are subject to important risks, uncertainties and assumptions. The results or events predicted in these forward-looking statements may differ materially from actual results or events. There are risks that the conditions to which the closing of the transactions described in this news release is subject to may not be met or that the applicable regulatory approvals may not be obtained. For a description of other risks that could cause actual results or events to differ materially from current expectations please refer to Bell Canada's Safe Harbor Notice Concerning Forward-Looking Statements dated February 7, 2005 filed by Bell Canada with the Canadian securities commissions and with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission under Form 6-K. The forward-looking statements contained in this news release represent our expectations as of March 8, 2005 and, accordingly, are subject to change after such date. However, we disclaim any intention or obligation to update any forward- looking statements, whether as a result of new information or otherwise.
About Bell Canada
Bell Canada, Canada's national leader in communications, provides connectivity to residential and business customers through wired and wireless voice and data communications, local and long distance phone services, high speed and wireless Internet access, IP-broadband services, e-business solutions and direct-to-home satellite service. Bell Canada is wholly owned by BCE Inc. (BCE: TSE, NYSE). For more information, please visit http://www.bce.ca/ .
About Clearwire Corporation
Clearwire is a provider of reliable, wireless, high-speed broadband Internet service to consumers and small businesses. Clearwire is utilizing next-generation non-line-of-sight wireless technology, developed by its subsidiary company NextNet, to connect customers to the Internet using radio spectrum, thus eliminating the confines of traditional cable or phone wiring. The tower transmits radio signals from a base site to a small, wireless modem the size of a paperback book, which easily connects a user's computer to the Internet. For more information, please visit http://www.clearwire.com/ .
About NextNet(R) Wireless, Inc.
NextNet ( http://www.nextnetwireless.com/ ) is the industry's most widely deployed provider of NLOS plug & play broadband wireless access systems. The Expedience(R) system is deployed over licensed frequencies today in 30 markets globally, including Asia, Africa, Europe, North America and Latin America, where NextNet is the exclusive NLOS plug & play system supplier for MVS Comunicaciones, Mexico's largest MMDS carrier, with licensed spectrum covering 67 million potential subscribers. In the USA, NextNet's Expedience solution is deployed by Clearwire, Plateau and a number of other ISPs in Arizona, Florida, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Nebraska, New Mexico, Ohio and Texas. NextNet is also the exclusive NLOS plug & play system supplier for the Inukshuk joint venture in Canada.
CONTACT: Bell Canada: Daniela Pizzuto, Media Relations, (514) 391-2007or 1 877 391 2007, [email protected]; BCE Inc.: George Walker,Investor Relations, (514) 870-2488, [email protected]; ClearwireCorporation: Todd Wolfenbarger, Media Relations, (801) 595-1155
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