Will Clearwire Partner With Google For WiMax? - InformationWeek

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11/9/2007
05:15 PM
Stephen Wellman
Stephen Wellman
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Will Clearwire Partner With Google For WiMax?

Analysts and tech insiders -- including my colleague Rob Preston -- are speculating that WiMax might not survive the end of the much-hyped marriage between startup Clearwire and U.S. cellular carrier Sprint. Now some blog

Analysts and tech insiders -- including my colleague Rob Preston -- are speculating that WiMax might not survive the end of the much-hyped marriage between startup Clearwire and U.S. cellular carrier Sprint. Now some bloggers speculate that Clearwire will go solo and partner with Google. Say what?Here is a look at the Clearwire, Google WiMax rumor:

Despite the break-up, Clearwire's CEO Ben Wolff hinted in the third-quarter conference call this morning that something else may still be in the works.

He said that because of the spectrum auction coming up in January, there has been immense interest in the wireless broadband business, and a Sprint partnership would have precluded working with anyone else.

And who that might be?

Google?

Here is the thinking driving this latest Google rumor across the blogosphere. Google is interested in the 700 MHz spectrum auction. Google is also interested in WiMax. Since Google was a part of the Sprint, Clearwire WiMax partnership, the apparent end of that relationship would indicate that Google is out in the cold when it comes to a WiMax partner.

Now, before you dismiss this rumor outright, bear in mind that Clearwire has to make WiMax work. If it doesn't, it's out of business. Clearwire, unlike Sprint, doesn't have a legacy cellular network business to fall back on.

As for Google's role in this rumor, well, I think it's pretty obvious that the big G. is doubling down on all things wireless. If Google thinks Sprint is backing away from WiMax, I think the search giant will push on and give Clearwire some help with its WiMax network build-out. I am not saying this is definitely the case (hey, it's just a Friday afternoon blog rumor), but I do think it makes sense.

What do you think? Is Clearwire about to partner with Google for WiMax?

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