Is Google Sprint's White Knight?

The Wall Street Journal is reporting Sprint and Clearwire are in talks to renew a joint venture that would see a nationwide WiMAX network like the one the two scrapped in November. This time, however, they're looking to bring in outside funding from the likes of Google, Intel and Best Buy--parties that could have a vested interest in seeing WiMAX and the company's open access plans succeed.

The paper says Google's interest is tepid at this point as it may only contribute $200 million or so. But it seems clear the online search giant doesn't plan to be too aggressive in the 700 MHz auction, only willing to put up the minimum $4.6-billion bid to trigger the open-access provision in the C-Block band. Sprint and Clearwire have already embraced Google on the application side and could provide a viable platform for Android. I wouldn't be surprised to see Google play a larger role in the the whole deal when the 700 MHz auction is all over.--Lynnette