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Court Orders Temporary Halt on Shutting Down Sprint's WiMax Network


Saved by the bell! In a last minute emergency decision, Sprint has decided to postpone shutting down its aging WiMax network. As announced, the company was planning to shut down this older network on Friday, Nov. 6. The plan was to end support for the network in order to give way for the implementation of Sprint's faster 4G LTE network.

But thanks to an 11th-hour court order, this won't be happening anytime soon--or at least today. It seems like the cries from both nonprofits Mobile Beacon and Mobile Citizen were heard by the court as Sprint was given a temporary halt order from shutting down the WiMax network. Both nonprofits rallied against the idea and pushed their concern to legal resorts as they proved that Sprint and its Clearwire unit were in violation with their existing contracts. Massachusetts superior court judge Janet Sanders has ordered the telecommunications provider to keep the network up until the lawsuit can be resolved. 

The two nonprofits provided Educational Broadband Services (EBS's) to schools, libraries and other nonprofits. They were able to strike a deal with Clearwire for letting them provide affordable internet access through the WiMax network. But when Sprint took over Clearwire in 2013, the nonprofits argued that their customers' data speeds were unfairly throttled. With the court's decision, Sprint is required to keep its WiMax network active in certain areas for 90 days. During this time period, the organizations will be given more time to migrate their users to the LTE network offered by Sprint.

When Sprint offered WiMax network, they were the first to provide a true 4G network to the public. At launch time, WiMax was way ahead of LTE. But now that LTE has coped up and has managed to provide faster connection, Sprint is prompted to switch to LTE network as well. By deactivating the WiMax network, devices that operate under WiMax-only won't get any service at all. However, devices that support WiMax and 3G will only get to use the slower 3G network. Considering the fact that they have announced their plans for discontinuing WiMax early, other users have already migrated to the LTE network without any issue.

While Sprint disagrees with the court ruling, they hope that both Mobile Beacon and Mobile Citizen will cooperate with them during this temporary halt period to resolve the contract dispute. They have declined to comment on whether or not they will continue shutting down some areas of the network while keeping the service available to the customers of the nonprofits.

Source: Re/code

22 comments:

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  1. I don't understand why they didn't migrate to Sprint LTE service. Why the lawsuit, they knew that Sprint was going to shutdown Wimax long time ago.

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    1. As I understand it the non-profits have no problem with switching to LTE. The issue is that they signed a 30 year contract with Clear that guaranteed unlimited un-throttled data. Sprint is refusing to honor that contract and is instead offering 6 GB of un-throttled data per line followed by unlimited 128 Kbps data.

      The judge believes that the non-profits have a case or she whoudn't have granted the injunction..

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    2. I understand but that a deal with clear not sprint. Sprint should not be held to that contract.

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    3. When you buy a company you acquire their contracts and debits.

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  2. The two non-profits had an agreement with Clearwire/Sprint to exchange bandwidth rights they held for unlimited wireless internet access for the schools, libraries, and non-profits organizations they serve. Sprint was not providing comparable unlimited LTE service as they did with WiMax, hence the lawsuit. Regular customers weren't charged for service beyond Nov 6, so we'll see on that day who continues to get WiMax service.

    Ref: http://www.chicagotribune.com/bluesky/originals/ct-sprint-wimax-lawsuit-bsi-20151105-story.html

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  3. A few small organizations think their interests trumps that of everyone else. The refarm of Wimax band benefits everyone by having a more robust LTE network. Sprint gave adequate notice about the shutdown, so it's sad to see they resort to a lawsuit instead of working it out with Sprint getting equipment replacement and what not.

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    1. Yep, it benefits everyone that can afford to pay the five fold price increase.
      It is also interesting to note that on 21 September 2011 Sprint's lawyers were the first to redefine the english word "unlimited" to mean 5 Gbytes.

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  4. Why is it okay for the gov't to impose on businesses like this?!

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    1. Because this is a contract dispute. Everyone, including businesses has to abide by the contracts they have signed, or in Sprint's case a contract they acquired when they purchased Clear. The court system in almost every country has the power to issue injunctions when the court feels that one party in a civil dispute will be harmed by actions by the other party that that may be in violation of a contract.

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    2. So you're saying the reason Sprint has to keep making WiMax available is because the nonprofit groups had a contract with Clear Wireless to be provided WiMax service for a set number of years, until a certain date, or indefinitely? And since Sprint bought out Clear Wireless, they are legally required to honor the contract Clear had with the nonprofits? If that's the case, it'd make sense.

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    3. because the wimax is better for the nonprofits instead of your secret plan

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    4. The dispute is not really about WiMAX vs LTE. It's about unlimited high speed data vs data that's throttled to 128 Kbps after 6GB. The non profits are willing to switch to LTE as long as they continue to get the unlimited high speed data that the contract specifies.

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  5. My service with clear went out at 6:30 am this morning. I guess they are suspending it after all...

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    1. My FreedomPop WiMAX is still working here in San Francisco,

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    2. WiMax is no longer working here, about 30 miles West of D.C.

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    3. Please ignore my post, just above. WiMax just kicked in.

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  6. I have a small businees and the companies that provide internet in my area charge a higher fee to business addresses. I was getting a good deal from a wimax reseller freedompop 10 gb for $23. Now that they switched to lte its $10 per gb. There is no reason to use them anymore because their price is no longer competitive.

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  7. WiMax via FreedomPop seems faster today; average of 5.1 Mbps in 3 tests with 1 or 2 bars of signal. Users may be switching, but the network is working well at the edge of coverage for me.

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  8. Here in houston tx my freedompop wimax device still works and i am getting a new alert stating service could end in 90 days

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  9. Correction, they are telling me it could stop working but it already has

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  10. Clear however has ended all operations as of Friday November 6th. Ordered my new karma hotspot.

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  11. WiMax Death Schedule, approved by MA judge:
    http://www.mobilebeacon.org/wimax-shutdown/

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