WiMax deal between Sprint and Clearwire complete

Clearwire, Sprint NextelClearwire Corp and Sprint Nextel Corp have announced the completion of their merger for building a next-generation wireless data network - Sprint's mobile WiMax Internet network. As a result, within 30 months of the deal's approval, the new wireless technology that promises faster data speeds than most current cellular broadband networks is expected to reach as many as 140 million people.

Sprint's stock jumped 29 cents, or 12 percent, to $2.79, whereas Clearwire shares rose 60 cents, or 10 percent, to $6.62.

Sprint, based in Overland Park, Kan. - which has been struggling as its subscribership continues to fall - has considered several strategies to catch up with rivals AT&T Inc and Verizon Communications Inc, including jettisoning the Nextel network or selling its long-distance network.

Meanwhile, Clearwire, headquartered in Kirkland, already has about 400,000 customers on a network that technology similar to the new wireless network. The new company will absorb Sprint's existing Baltimore-area WiMax network - which the company developed under the Xohm brand - in addition to Sprint spectrum covering much of the country.

Sprint will hold around 51% of the new firm - which will retain the Clearwire name - while existing Clearwire shareholders will own 27% and the new investors will hold 22%. In addition to Sprint and Clearwire, other companies - like Intel Corp, Google Inc, Comcast Corp, Time Warner Cable Inc and Bright House Networks - have collectively invested $3.2 billion in the new company.

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