Sprint and Clearwire have announced a joint venture for a national US WiMAX network reported to be valued at US$14.5 billion. The deal sees Sprint become the majority owner of the new company (51 percent), which will be called Clearwire. The new company has raised a total of US$3.2 billion in outside financing from several high-profile industry players; reports suggest cable provider Comcast has invested US$1.05 billion, US$1 billion has come from Intel, Time Warner Cable has invested US$550 million, Google has parted with US$500 million and smaller cable provider Bright House has contributed US$100 million. Sprint, Comcast, Time Warner Cable and Bright House will enter wholesale agreements with Clearwire to sell high-speed services using the venture’s network. The venture will be headed by Clearwire’s current chief executive Benjamin Wolff, with Sprint’s current CTO Barry West as president.
Today’s deal ends months of speculation concerning a tie-up between all parties. In August last year it was first reported that Sprint and Clearwire were planning to partner and build a joint WiMAX mobile broadband network in the US. Talks broke down in November before reportedly being revived this January. Sprint currently offers trial WiMAX services in Chicago, Baltimore and Washington DC, but recently postponed a national commercial launch. Yesterday, Mobile Business Briefing reported that Sprint is mulling a split with Nextel that could pave the way for a takeover bid by Deutsche Telekom.