Editor’s Note: RCR Wireless News goes all in for “Throwback Thursdays,” tapping into our archives to resuscitate the top headlines from the past. Fire up the time machine, put on the sepia-tinted shades, set the date for #TBT and enjoy the memories!

Clearwire’s WiMAX comes to San Francisco …

Clearwire Corp. (CLWR) made good on its promise to launch its WiMAX network in the San Francisco area before the end of the year by flipping the switch on the network and endowing more than four million people in the area with access to the mobile broadband offering. The company said the network covers San Francisco, Oakland, San Jose and the 680 corridor from Concord to Pleasanton. To promote its Clear-branded offering, Clearwire also said it would offer customers in the area a 50% discount on their service for the first two months and free overnight shipping and no activation fee if they sign up for service through the company’s website. Going along with Clearwire’s launch, Sprint Nextel Corp. also announced that its 4G-branded service is also now available in the San Francisco area. … Read more

… While Craig McCaw is set to retire from Clearwire board
Wireless industry pioneer Craig McCaw is set to resign his current position as chairman of the board of directors at Clearwire Corp. (CLWR) effective today, according to a Securities and Exchange Commission filing from the carrier.
Clearwire noted that McCaw informed the company of his decision on Dec. 29 of his intentions. Looking to discourage anyone reading too much into the announcement, Clearwire noted in the filing that the move was “not due to any disagreements with the company on any matters relating to the company’s operations, policies, or practices.” McCaw has served as chairman at Clearwire since the company’s reorganization in 2008 that saw the firms spectrum consolidated through a deal with Sprint Nextel Corp. and financial investments from Comcast Corp. ($1.05 billion), Intel Corp. ($1 billion), Time Warner Cable ($550 million), Google Inc. ($500 million) and Bright House Networks ($100 million). McCaw’s Eagle River Investments L.L.C. was an original investor in the old Clearwire with McCaw serving as chairman of that entity for five years prior to its reorganization. Clearwire noted that Eagle River has indicated it intends to nominate former Clearwire CEO Benjamin Wolff to replace McCaw on Clearwire’s board. … Read more\

Device predictions for 2011: Bring on the tablets
In many ways, 2010 was a landmark year in consumer devices: after years of false starts, a formula for successful consumer tablets was discovered. In addition, smart phones went mainstream, new rate plans drove the adoption of data and the prepaid segment, while Internet-based video burrowed its way into nearly anything connected to a television. The big trends in 2011 are likely to be extensions of what we saw in 2010: more tablets – a lot more tablets – new smart phone platforms, and more convergence of cloud services and connected devices, whether they are in the home or your pocket. It’s much harder to predict disruptive change, but I do not expect any flying cars. Sorry. Changes in consumer behavior have made this an ideal time to launch simplified computing devices. More people need devices for e-mail and Web-based activities than for processor intensive tasks like video editing, and households are purchasing multiple computers, creating a market for more purpose-driven devices. These trends fueled the rise of netbooks (along with rock-bottom prices). However, it was still not a foregone conclusion that consumers would embrace tablets; vendors have been trying to build consumer tablet computers for over a decade without success. Apple Inc. finally hit upon a formula that works: a simplified operating system built for touch-based navigation from the ground up, with ties to existing ecosystems for apps, digital media, and accessories. Advances in hardware helped, but hardware alone is not enough, and proof of that can be seen in all the tablets shown at CES 2010 that were cancelled or revised after the iPad shipped. … Read more

Leap buys Denali Wireless
Leap Wireless International Inc.’s subsidiary Cricket Communications Inc. completed its acquisition of Denali Spectrum L.L.C., providing the carrier with “ownership and control” of Denali’s Chicago and southern Wisconsin markets.
Leap (LEAP) had previously announced plans to acquire the 17.5% controlling interest in Denali it did not previously own from Denali Spectrum Manager L.L.C. The acquisition included approximately $53 in cash; a five-year, $45.5 million promissory note and Cricket agreeing to pay approximately $11 million to the Federal Communications Commission in “unjust enrichment payments.” Just prior to the closing of the acquisition, Denali also completed the contribution of its wireless spectrum outside of its Chicago and Wisconsin markets to Savary Island Wireless L.L.C. in exchange for an 85% non-controlling interest in Savary. The remaining 15% and controlling interest in Savary is in the hands of Ring Island Wireless L.L.C., which contributed an undisclosed amount of cash to the venture. Leap noted that Savary obtained the licenses as a “very small business” designated entity under FCC rules and has assumed $211.6 million of the outstanding senior secured debt owed by Denali to Cricket. Further tying Savary to Leap, Savary also entered into a management services agreement with Cricket. Leap backed Denali in the FCC’s 2006 AWS auction in which it won a single Great Lakes regional license covering about 58 million people for $365 million, an amount that was reduced to $274 million after factoring in Denali’s DE credits. … Read more

Did LTE shake up vendor landscape? Nah.
Each and every jump from one network technology to another presents wireless infrastructure vendors with a chance for new business. And sure enough, changes are afoot in the infrastructure space again today as mobile operators make their climb to fourth-generation networks. While recent newcomers are making significant wins outside the United States, it’s mostly the incumbents that are winning the biggest network contracts here in a country that has arguably become the early leader in 4G technology deployments. LTE has presented telecom gear makers with a window of opportunity to shake up the space and see market shares slide every which way between competitors new and old. Instead, the latest major contracts for LTE in the United States are going to the incumbents in this space, particularly Alcatel-Lucent and Ericsson AG. “Ericsson is the 800-pound gorilla. It’s the traditional market leader,” said Keith Mallinson, an analyst at WiseHarbor. As we head into 2011, the outlook for infrastructure vendors in the United States will be defined in large part by LTE. “It’s a very important time with the coming of LTE,” Mallinson added. … Read more

Mobile TV hopefuls
Soon after FLO TV goes dark, a joint venture of a dozen broadcasters plans to launch mobile TV services that will reach about 40% of the U.S. population. Mobile Content Venture announced plans to initially launch two ad-supported channels in 20 markets by late 2011. The broadcasters will first have to upgrade their stations to deliver ATSC Mobile DTV signals to portable devices, a process that’s been years in the coming after various technology standard battles and trials.
“Live, local video will ultimately be a key part of mobile services,” said Salil Dalvi, co-GM of MCV. “Upgrading our stations for mobile is an important first step in making this a reality.” The group is hopeful is can convince device manufacturers to release compatible equipment by the second half of 2011. … Read more

Check out the RCR Wireless News Archives for more stories from the past.

The post #TBT: WiMAX memories; Bring on the tablets; LTE and the vendor landscape … this week in 2010 appeared first on RCR Wireless News.