updated 07:45 pm EST, Wed February 9, 2011
Move seen as win for Sprint
Clearwire is reportedly planning to drop its own retail brand and realign its strategy solely as a wholesale network provider for its WiMAX service, sources have told the Wall Street Journal (sub. required). Sprint, which owns a non-controlling majority stake in Clearwire, will no longer have to compete directly with the company's retail endeavors.
Customers currently can sign up for WiMAX service from either company, as both offer a range of USB modems and Wi-Fi hotspots that connect to Clearwire's network. Sprint has opposed such an arrangement, though Clearwire had insisted on maintaining direct sales to end users.
The strategy shift is believed to be related to funding problems, as Clearwire has failed to meet its original targets for network expansion. Initial promises set a 2010 goal of 200 million potential customers, but the company only reached 100 million in that time frame.
Clearwire has yet to publicly confirm plans to drop its retail strategy.