Sprint-Clearwire: On Again in 2008?

Financial analyst firm ThinkEquity LLC issued a research note Thursday morning suggesting that the WiMax relationship between Clearwire LLC (Nasdaq: CLWR) and Sprint Corp. (NYSE: S) may not be dead after all.

ThinkEquity Analyst Eric Kainer writes that the firms could renew their wireless broadband cooperation next year as Sprint launches its nationwide WiMax network.

"This launch is likely to be delayed to 2H08 as Sprint hires a CEO and re-establishes its relationship with Clearwire," notes Kainer.

Reston, Va.-based Sprint dissolved its partnership with Clearwire in November saying the deal was too complex and that the companies could not "reach final agreement on the terms of the transaction." The short-lived alliance between the operators was originally inked in July 2007. (See Sprint Reconsiders WiMax Plans.)

A Sprint spokesman this week told Unstrung that any talk of a renewed Clearwire partnership "falls under the category of rumor and speculation."

Sprint this week started phase one of its WiMax soft launch, which involves Sprint employees using the networks in Chicago and Baltimore-Washington, D.C.

The company has continued to insist that it will hit its target for a commercial launch in the second quarter of 2008, despite suggestions from ThinkEquity's Kainer -- and others -- that the schedule could slip. (See Sprint Launches WiMax Sites.)

— Dan Jones, Site Editor, Unstrung

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