Clearwire, the Kirkland wireless Internet provider, and cellular operator Sprint Nextel have reportedly restarted talks to combine their...
Clearwire, the Kirkland wireless Internet provider, and cellular operator Sprint Nextel have reportedly restarted talks to combine their high-speed wireless WiMax networks.
Sprint and Clearwire are discussing a joint venture that would attract funding from Intel, a major backer of WiMax technology, which promises faster wireless Web connection speeds for laptops and cellphones than mobile operators’ third-generation networks.
The companies have also approached Google and Best Buy about financing, according to a Wall Street Journal report.
Helen Chung, a Clearwire spokeswoman, declined to comment on the report, as did Sprint spokesman John Polivka.
Most Read Business Stories
- The penthouse atop Smith Tower is on the rental market for the first time
- Downtowns will be back, but Seattle has choices to make
- Boutique cruise line Windstar will move its Seattle headquarters to Miami
- Zillow’s price estimates are now cash offers in homebuying push
- US advisers endorse single-shot COVID-19 vaccine from J&J
The news boosted both companies’ stock Tuesday. Clearwire surged $2.89, or 23.2 percent, to $15.34, while Sprint climbed 83 cents, or 8.3 percent, to $10.80.
The companies’ first attempt to forge a WiMax partnership ended in November, sending shares of the much smaller Clearwire down more than 40 percent in the ensuing weeks. Since then, the companies have discussed a plan to spin off Sprint’s WiMax unit, called Xohm, and merge it with Clearwire, according to the report.
The two companies’ partnership had been shelved after Sprint ousted its chief executive. Since then, Sprint has a new CEO, Dan Hesse, an executive with strong ties to the Seattle wireless industry. Hesse served as CEO of AT&T Wireless, then based in Redmond, and later as CEO of Terabeam, a Kirkland wireless broadband startup.
Sprint, based in Reston, Va. has started rolling out its WiMax network in some markets and has said it wants to reach 100 million U.S. consumers by the end of this year.
Clearwire, founded by cellular pioneer Craig McCaw, operates pre-WiMax networks in 46 U.S. markets, including Seattle, Syracuse, N.Y., and Duluth, Minn. The company is testing a full-fledged WiMax network in Portland.
Intel held about one-fifth of Clearwire’s shares at the end of September.
Information from Seattle Times business staff and
Bloomberg News is included in this report.