Clearwire Hands Network Operations to Ericsson

New managed service agreement puts Ericsson in charge of all network engineering, operations and maintenance for the 4G network

In a bid to lower costs and improve its financial position, Clearwire has inked a wide-ranging management service agreement that will put Ericsson in charge of day to day management of its 4G network.

As a result of the deal, Ericsson will manage network engineering, operations and maintenance of Clearwire's 4G mobile network and about 700 Clearwire employees who had worked in network operations are expected to become Ericsson employees by the end of June.

Clearwire will retain ownership of all network assets and full responsibility for future technology and strategy decisions. Clearwire will also handle all customer service and dealings with wholesale partners and equipment vendors.

"Clearwire's effort to reduce costs and maximize efficiency while delivering a high quality mobile broadband service to our customers extends to all parts of our business," explained Erik Prusch, Clearwire's chief operating officer in a statement. "By engaging Ericsson, a proven leader in managed network services, we can achieve those objectives, and benefit from their extensive global expertise and best-practices developed while serving clients around the world."

In 2009, Ericsson entered into a similar network management partnership with Sprint, Clearwire's largest shareholder and wholesale partner.

Ericsson currently manages networks for operators that serve over 800 million subscribers worldwide and it provided tech support for operators with over two billion subscribers.