Sprint, Clearwire vow "third pipe" broadband option
Sprint Nextel Corp told U.S. regulators on Monday that its new wireless broadband venture with Clearwire Corp would give Internet users a long-sought "third pipe" to compete with cable operators and phone carriers.
In a filing with the Federal Communications Commission, Sprint and Clearwire said the new venture would offer an open-platform WiMAX service that would expand broadband use in the United States.
"The transaction will make the promise of an alternative broadband platform, or 'third pipe,' a near-term reality ...," Sprint and Clearwire said.
The comments were part of a 64-page application with FCC, which will review the deal to determine whether it is in the public interest.
Sprint, along with top U.S. cable companies announced last month they would invest in Clearwire to introduce high-speed wireless Web services.
The $14.5 billion venture, which will be called Clearwire, includes Sprint, Comcast Corp, Time Warner Cable Inc, Intel Corp, Google Inc and Bright House Networks.
The deal is expected to close in the fourth quarter. It would give Sprint, the No. 3 U.S. mobile service, formidable allies in its battle against larger rivals AT&T Inc and Verizon Wireless.
WiMAX is largely unproven, but has much bigger coverage area than Wi-Fi.
The venture will use Sprint's existing broadcast wireless towers and its wired fiber network, helping Sprint save money.
Under the pact, Sprint and the cable companies will rent space on the Clearwire network to sell wireless Web services directly to their own customers. The cable companies also plan to sell Sprint's existing voice and data services.
"New Clearwire has strong incentives to deploy and compete aggressively," the companies said in their application.