Clearwire gains advanced WiMAX dongle and new investor

Clearwire announced a landmark WiMAX dongle the same day reports surfaced indicating Credit Suisse is now an investor, though perhaps a temporary one, in the operator.

Clearwire's latest WiMAX dongle is really a plug-and-play device, offering WiMAX connectivity to a computer or any other device with a standard USB port with no additional software required. The operator said its Clear Stick Atlas USB stick "is the first in the U.S. to offer instant connectivity without the need for additional software."

The device-independent dongle is manufactured by Ubee Interactive and sells for $49.99. It supports most operating systems, including Windows7, Windows Vista, Windows XP, Mac OSX, Linux, Android and Chrome.

Clearwire's Clear brand offers unlimited WiMAX data service with no long-term service contracts starting at $34.99 a month, though it does throttle in cases of what it deems excessive data use.

Credit Suisse, meanwhile, reportedly acquired Google's (NASDAQ:GOOG) stake in Clearwire. Google had disclosed its sale of 29.4 million Clearwire shares for $66.5 million to an undisclosed buyer. The sales price represented a considerable discount to the $500 million Google originally paid for its Clearwire stake in 2008.

Yet, Credit Suisse may be a transient investor in Clearwire. A Wall Street Journal article noted that institutions such as Credit Suisse often purchase blocks of shares as part of large trades, and then sell them to other parties.

Sprint Nextel (NYSE:S) remains Clearwire's largest investor and wholesale customer, and still has a 54 percent economic stake in the company. Clearwire, whose network covers 130 million U.S. POPs, says it has enough funding to last through the end of 2012, but it may need to raise substantial amounts of cash after that.

For more:
- see this release
- see this GigaOm article
- see this Wall Street Journal blog post

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