Comcast exec sees end of year Clearwire close

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Comcast, which was a regional mobile wireless player before it sold off that "non-essential" business to Cingular back in the 1990s, is eager to get back into the space as a member of the new Clearwire joint venture which a Comcast exec expects to close late this year.

Comcast President Steve Burke predicted that the new mobile WiMAX service, which is being driven by Sprint, would let cable operators offer "wireless data speeds that Verizon and AT&T can't match" and would give Comcast a fourth piece of its services bundle to accompany wireline voice, video and high-speed data.

Clearwire's CFO John Butler fueled Burke's optimism by telling a Jefferies Group conference that the merger is on track to close in the fourth quarter of this year despite an attempt by AT&T to block the deal with regulatory authorities. A skittish financial market, he said, may also present a problem because the company feels no present urgency to tap capital markets.

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New Sprint-Clearwire deal a shot in the arm for mobile WiMAX. Article