WSJ reports that Clearwire is in talks with a handful of companies that might lead to a deeper partnership with Intel (NSDQ: INTC), revive a failed joint venture with Sprint (NYSE: S), and possibly result in new pacts with Best Buy and Google (NSDQ: GOOG). The talks should help to re-energize WiMax, which has faced a lot of criticism after Clearwire and Sprint backed out of a partnership last year that would share the cost of building a nationwide network.
In the latest scenario, Clearwire and Sprint would form a joint venture, with Intel, Best Buy, Google, or even a foreign telecom company, possibly financing the deal. The endeavor is expensive because the companies will not only have to build a nationwide network, but to be successful, they will also have to create an ecosystem of companies to build chips, create content and market the end product to consumers. Partnerships with companies such as Best Buy and Google would go far in in accomplishing those pieces of the equation.
Also, for Sprint, WSJ points out, a partnership with Clearwire would dramatically lower the costs, which would allow new CEO Dan Hesse to focus on turning around its cellular phone business.
The article also stressed that there’s no guarantee that a joint venture will be finalized, or that the two companies would be able to secure additional funding. Wall Street still reacted positively. In afternoon trading, Clearwire rose $2.87, or almost 23 percent to $15.28. Sprint jumped 85 cents, or about 8.5 percent to $10.82 a share.
Watch for more news tomorrow. Clearwire is hosting a three-hour long investor day in Portland, starting at 10 a.m. PST. Clearwire’s CEO Ben Wolff, along with other management, will discuss business operations and financial performance of its pre-WiMax networks that cover almost 50 cities.