updated 03:20 pm EST, Tue January 29, 2008
Sprint Clearwire WiMAX
Both Sprint and Clearwire are back to discussing a previously-ended deal that would see a shared WiMAX effort, according to people speaking with the Wall Street Journal. In spite of ending talks just last year after failing to come to an agreement, both companies are reportedly once again prepared to explore a deal that would let customers of either Clearwire or Sprint roam on each other's WiMAX networks, saving both companies from having to build out an entire national network themselves. The new strategy would see Sprint's WiMAX service, named Xohm, spun off as a separate entity and merged with Clearwire to create a single, unified service.
This may be accomplished partly by striking deals with major companies with a vested interest in seeing WiMAX succeed, the Journal states. Companies such as Best Buy, Google, and WiMAX's chief creator Intel are allegedly being asked to help finance the fourth-generation wireless network and subsidize the cost of its development.
The apparent news has reinvigorated hopes for WiMAX, which soft-launched earlier this month with testers in key US cities but has been under constant doubt after its chief proponent, Gary Forsee, was shunted from Sprint's CEO position by a board anxious about the company's future. Analysts have also worried that WiMAX will be overtaken by LTE, a competing 4G service which is believed to be both faster and is gaining more carrier support than WiMAX.