Having collected together a number of heavyweight backers for its U.S. WiMAX deployment, Clearwire has revealed that it is considering partnering with European firms to help it deploy mobile WiMAX. The company owns licences in seven European countries, covering 200 million people. "There are ongoing talks about potential partnerships," said Clearwire CEO Ben Wolff. "The transaction in the U.S. has prompted some interest. It might behove us to partner with those companies who might bring something more to the table." Without revealing any names, Wolff said companies of interest could bring with them network infrastructure and subscriber bases.
Clearwire's expansion into Europe goes back to 2004. Since then, Clearwire has acquired 3.5 GHz licences in Belgium, Germany, Ireland, Poland, Romania, and Spain, and through its affiliate in Denmark, Danske Telecom A/S . As of the end of March, Clearwire had just 51,000 customers in Brussels and Ghent, Belgium; Dublin; and Seville, Spain. Separately, the European Bank of Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) is planning to invest up to US$20 million in the Russian WiMAX broadband Internet provider Prestige, a wholly owned subsidiary of the Enforta Group. The investment, designed to improve Internet coverage in Russia, will help Enforta increase its service area to 55 cities.