Comcast is unlikely to up its investment in WiMAX operator Clearwire (NASDAQ:CLWR), Comcast Chief Financial Officer Michael Angelakis said at an investor conference in New York.
The cable company, which owns 9 percent of Clearwire, has long cited WiMAX as an important piece of its wireless strategy, but according to the Wall Street Journal, tensions have recently increased over the strategic direction of the WiMAX operator, leading to some questions about Clearwire's next round of financing. "Clearwire has to figure this out," Angelakis said.
The concerns are not surprising given the fact that Clearwire has a number of big-named investors, including Sprint Nextel (NYSE:S), which owns the majority of the company, Intel, Google and Time Warner. Sprint, Comcast and Time Warner have launched WiMAX services through reseller deals with Clearwire.
Sprint's CFO Robert Brust also indicated last week that it had no plans to buy out its partners in the Clearwire WiMAX venture anytime soon. Brust was addressing analysts' assertions that Sprint would try to gain full ownership of Clearwire to increase its control of the company, which would be beneficial in terms of dictating market rollouts. According to the WSJ, Sprint wants Clearwire to focus on expanding its WiMAX network, which is growing but not fully available in some larger cities like New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco.
- see this WSJ article
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