Sprint, Clearwire WiMax Deal Is On!

It finally happened! Sprint Nextel and Clearwire announced the $14.55 billion WiMax deal. Sprint will own 51% of the company (called Clearwire) with Clearwire owning 27% and investors 22%. Intel, Google, Comcast, Time Warner Cable, and Bright House Networks are all pumping $3.2 billion into the deal. Trilogy Equity Partners will also invest in the new venture.

The new venture (I’m still finding it odd calling the new company Clearwire…bear with me for a bit) hopes to have 120-140 million users of the network by the end of 2010. That’s a rather nice number considering we’re almost half way through 2008. It could be interpretted that since the deal is now in place, numbers have been set, and names have been named that they expect a rather aggressive and robust rollout of the network.

I’m looking forward to seeing how AT&T and Verizon’s gambe to pooh-pooh on WiMax will turn out as they decided to opt for LTE (Long Term Evolution). WiMax is expected to compete not only in the wireless market but also with fixed-line broadband. It’s no wonder Comcast and Time Warner wanted in on this deal also. You can expect some interesting new services with Google in the mix and we know Intel has a lot at stake here as they’d love to sell WiMax-enabled chipsets.

Oh what a glorious way to start the day. Sprint has been in the news a lot over the past few days. The rumor of Deutsche Telecom buying them, the rumor of Sprint selling or spinning off the Nextel division, Qwest dumping Sprint for Verizon…but this news is just exciting not only for investors, geeks, and business people but also ultimately for the consumer that will be able to use this network. I can only imagine the myriad of offerings that will be available to the consumer, from streaming TV shows and movies to your laptop to broadband coverage no matter where you are. Now the question is…which cities will this be rolled out in and in what order?

I think Sprint Nextel really is getting it together as a company. It has been and will continue to be a tough road for just a bit longer but they refused to go down without a fight and now they’re proving that the rumors of their death were just slightly exaggerated.

Exciting times for us all. Let’s see how the competition reacts to this and what other offerings we will soon have before us.