Clearwire’s plan for quickly ramping up its 4G wireless service: If it takes too long to sell the service yourself, sign up as many partners as you can that can resell it to their customers. In that vein, the Kirkland, W.A.-based company announced its fifth wholesale deal today with Best Buy. The terms of the deal were not disclosed, but Teresa Elder, Clearwire’s president of strategic partnerships and wholesale, said Best Buy will roll out the service sometime next year.
Never mind that Best Buy hasn’t really been that good at selling services to its big-box customer base. Three years ago, it acquired Speakeasy, a DSL reseller, for $100 million. Last month, it sold off the unit to Covad and Megapath in what was described as a fire sale. Now, it’s reviving its services unit by trying to sell mobile broadband data in a program called “Best Buy Connect.” It’s murky how Clearwire will fit into the picture, but so far, the service includes access to Sprint’s 3G network. Data plans start at $30 a month for 250 megabytes and $60 a month for up to 5 gigabytes. Devices are limited to laptops embedded with Qualcomm