Clearwire just picked up an interesting new customer — reaching an agreement to supply wholesale broadband service to FreedomPop, the startup backed by Skype co-founder Niklas Zennstrom that is aiming to launch a free 4G mobile broadband service in the U.S. later this year.
The agreement, announced this morning, comes after FreedomPop’s original broadband partner, LightSquared, was dealt a blow by federal regulators over concerns that LightSquared’s plan to use satellites would interfere with the GPS system.
Financial terms of Clearwire’s deal with FreedomPop weren’t disclosed. As part of the announcement this morning FreedomPop said it now guarantees that its free 4G mobile broadband service will launch in the second half of this year. The company recently told Forbes that the service will use a freemium model, with some customers paying for higher-end premium service, subsidizing the free offering.
Clearwire, the Bellevue-based wireless broadband supplier, has been facing a cash crunch as it scrambles to expand from WiMAX — the 4G wireless technology on which the company made its big early bets – to the competing LTE wireless standard.
FreedomPop will be able to offer faster speeds as Clearwire’s 4G LTE Advanced network comes online, the companies say.