Best Buy kickstarts Clearwire MVNO service for $45 per month

Best Buy will begin reselling Clearwire's (NASDAQ:CLWR) mobile WiMAX service via its Best Buy Connect brand, adding another piece to its mobile strategy and giving Clearwire another active wholesale partner.

The two companies announced their partnership in July but never provided a specific launch date for the service, other than that it would be sometime in 2011. The launch comes less than a week after LightSquared announced a wholesale LTE partnership with Best Buy. 

Best Buy said it will sell Clearwire's service for $45 per month for unlimited data either on a month-to-month basis or with a two-year contract, pricing that mirrors Clearwire's Clear-branded service. If customers sign up for a two-year deal they can waive the $35 activation fee and receive up to an additional $150 off select hardware devices. Best Buy said the service will work with 23 computing models from Asus, Dell, Hewlett-Packard, Samsung, Sony and Toshiba that can be purchased at most Best Buy stores.

Best Buy will provide service activation, billing, hardware and connection support. The company has a similar arrangement with Sprint Nextel (NYSE:S) to resell Sprint's EV-DO service.

Clearwire has been searching for funding options to continue its network buildout, and the company's CFO said last week that it is considering reshuffling its own retail strategy, but declined to provide details. Best Buy's deal with LightSquared will not put any immediate pressure on Clearwire, however, since trials are not expected to start until the first quarter of 2012.

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