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WiMax saved? Comcast, Time Warner Cable eye Sprint, Clearwire pact

WiMax could be saved as a technology by a handful of cable companies.It has been clear for months that Sprint and Clearwire aren't strong enough to make WiMax a mainstream technology and Verizon Wireless and AT&T aren't interested.
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Written by Larry Dignan on

WiMax could be saved as a technology by a handful of cable companies.

It has been clear for months that Sprint and Clearwire aren't strong enough to make WiMax a mainstream technology and Verizon Wireless and AT&T aren't interested. Intel and other hardware makers are pushing WiMax but without a carrier with financial heft the technology has a rough road ahead.

The game changer could be cable companies, which could use WiMax to offer wireless services. According to the Wall Street Journal (Techmeme), Comcast and Time Warner Cable are in talks to provide funding to a new wireless company that would push WiMax and be run by Sprint and Clearwire. Neither Sprint nor Clearwire is strong enough to put WiMax everywhere. Sprint--WiMax's best hope--is a financial mess that's mired in a price war.

This Sprint-Clearwire joint venture has been on the drawing board for months, but if it can line up funding from cable giants it could get rolling. According to the Journal, Comcast may pony up $1 billion with Time Warner adding $500 million. Toss in funding from Intel and Google and WiMax could be saved--or at least given enough funding to get to the starting line.

If the cable investment plays out it'll set up an interesting wireless scrum. Cable giants will use WiMax as their wireless play--the last frontier for their bundled services. Cable companies are already offering phone service to encroach on Verizon and AT&T. The telecom giants have fired back by offering TV service.

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