NetZero, one of surviving brands of the dot-com bust, will use Clearwire’s network to offer 4G mobile broadband service under the NetZero name starting next year under a five-year wholesale agreement announced by Clearwire and NetZero parent company United Online this morning.
It’s part of an effort by Clearwire to diversify its business beyond its pivotal partnership with its majority owner Sprint — whose plans to shift away from the WiMAX technology long championed by Clearwire could leave the Kirkland company in limbo unless it can move quickly to roll out the competing LTE technology across its network.
Pricing for the planned NetZero service wasn’t announced, but the company says it aims to roll it out early next year.
“We believe the new NetZero 4G high-speed mobile broadband service is the natural progression for the NetZero brand, which has always stood for bringing the highest quality, most affordable Internet access to consumers in the U.S.,” said Mark Goldston, the chairman and CEO of United Online, in a statement. “Having revolutionized the dial-up market more than a decade ago, our goal is to bring the same level of innovation and competitive advantage to the 4G high-speed mobile broadband market beginning in early 2012.”
United Online is also the parent company of Seattle-based Classmates.com and the new Memory Lane service.