Clearwire's Irish operations acquired by Imagine

Clearwire's Irish operations acquired by Imagine
Imagine Communications Group, the broadband and phone company rolling out 4G WiMax across Ireland as an alternative access to the existing Eircom network, has announced it has acquired Clearwire's Irish operations. Clearwire has a significant telecoms infrastructure in Ireland which will now be used by Imagine as it continues a EUR100 million national roll-out of the high speed wireless network WiMax.

Following the Clearwire transaction, Imagine now has nearly 400 high sites nationwide to facilitate the rapid roll out of the WiMax network.

"This is a very significant and strategic deal for us as Clearwire is one of the world's leading 4G operators," said Mr. Brian O'Donohoe, MD of Imagine Communications Group. "Key network and operational assets, as well as a talented technical team, will serve as a solid launch pad for expanding service and making 4G mobile broadband a reality across Ireland," Mr. O'Donohoe said.

Imagine gained 50mHz of spectrum when purchasing Irish Broadband in 2008, added more spectrum in a Comreg process in 2009, and with Clearwire Ireland Limited's spectrum now has over 120mHz of crucial 3.4/3.6mHz spectrum. This will enable Imagine to take full advantage of the WiMax technology, which is expected to deliver speeds of 100mbits to consumers and businesses in the near future.

As part of the transaction, Clearwire will become a minority shareholder and will nominate a representative to Imagine's board of directors. Other specific financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

Imagine expects that the WiMax network will cover 90 per cent of Ireland within two years, with prices undercutting Eircom by 50 per cent.

Imagine Communications Group is a pan-European communications provider. The Group has substantial business operations in Europe with overall network reach extending to Ireland, the UK, the Netherlands, Austria, Norway and the USA. In Ireland Imagine provides fixed voice, broadband, IP and ISP services. Imagine is the No. 2 business telecoms company in Ireland and provides services to 17,000 businesses.

Imagine is led by its founder, Sean Bolger, an Irish Telecoms Entrepreneur who has founded and operated businesses in fixed, mobile and data telecommunications services for nearly 20 years. Other Irish shareholders include leading global private equity investor DFJ Esprit and leading utility and renewable energy player NTR.
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