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Google Joins Venture for Mobile WiMAX Next-Gen Wireless Internet Access

Google has teamed up with a number of partners investing in a new venture to develop and deliver high-speed WiMAX internet access for mobile devices.  The venture, which is being led by Sprint, also includes  including Clearwire, Sprint, Comcast, Time Warner, and Intel, amongst others.

Thus far, deploying a nationwide Mobile WiMAX network has proven to be quite a difficult task.  With new partners involved, however, it is hoped that the task will be easier to complete.  Sprint and Clearwire have entered into an agreement to combine their next-gen wireless broadband businesses to form a new wireless communications called Clearwire.  The new jointly created Clearwire will build on their existing customer bse of 400,000 wireless broad band subscribers and Sprint’s XOHM WiMAX network build-out in certain markets this year.

Google, Intel, Comcast, Time Warner Cable, and Bright House Networks have collectively agreed to invest $3.2 billion into the new comany.   The investment is based on a target price of $20.00 per share of Clearwire’s common stock.  Sprint will own the largest stake in the company, at 51%.  Existing Clearwire shareholders will have 27%, and the investors group will own 22% of the shares.

Contributing money to the deal, however, is not where the partnership ends.  Each of the partners have also agreed to certain terms and involvement in deploying the WiMAX network.

Google will partner with Clearwire in the development of internet services, advertising services, and applications for mobile WiMAX devices.  They will also be the search provider and preferred provider of other applications for Clearwire’s retail product. Google has also entered into an agreement with Sprint, whereby they will become the default provider of web and local search, which will also be enabled with location information for Sprint.  Sprint will also be pre-loading several Google services, including Google Maps for Mobile, Gmail, and YouTube, on select mobile devices.

Intell will be working with various manufacturers to embed WiMAX chips into Intel-based mobile internet devices and Intel Centrino 2 -based laptops.  They will also market Clearwire’s services in association with their notebook PC brand.

Comcast, Time Warner Cable, and Bright House Networks will enter into 3G wholesale agreements with Sprint, and will become bundled providers of Sprint’s wireless voice and data services.   They will also enter into wholesale agreements with Clearwire to become 4G providers of the company’s mobile WiMAX service.

Google and Intel also have options to enter into 3G and 4G wholesale agreements with Clearwire and Sprint, however neither currently has any plans to do so.  But that option remains open for the future, should either decide it to be worth pursuing.  Actually, thinking about it, this could explain a recent Google purchase of the domain googlebroadband.com.

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