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Sprint Nextel Returns To Clearwire To Rekindle WiMax Partnership

Jan 29, 2008 (12:01 PM EST)

Read the Original Article at http://www.informationweek.com/news/showArticle.jhtml?articleID=205921349


Desperate to restart its business momentum, Sprint Nextel is talking with its once-jilted partner Clearwire about again teaming up to launch a major WiMax network. Other potential partners would be Intel, Google, and Best Buy, according to a report Tuesday in the Wall Street Journal.

Sprint hooked up with Clearwire last July, only to break off the partnership in November after Sprint's chief Gary Foresee left the company. Now the company has a new chief in Dan Hesse and he is said to be interested in reviving and expanding a partnership to spur the development and deployment of WiMax.

Intel, which has developed the technology behind WiMax and is preparing to install the user side of the technology in a new generation of laptop components, has an obvious reason to push the wide area technology. As for Google, WiMax would fit neatly into its Android Open Handset Alliance effort aimed at opening up wireless infrastructures to accept a wider variety of devices and services as well as Google's search technology.

Clearwire, of course, is the latest brainchild of wireless pioneer Craig McCaw. The wireless telecom has been rolling out WiMax in some selected areas of the United States. The presence of retailer Best Buy wasn't explained in the report in The Wall Street Journal, which said Best Buy didn't comment for its report.

Sprint has been testing WiMax in Chicago and the Baltimore-Washington, D.C., area and the company recently said it is proceeding with the deployment. The obvious problem is money -- Sprint previously said it would spend $5 billion on deploying the technology and the firm would need partners with deep pockets to get WiMax rolling.