Clearwire (NASDAQ:CLWR) inked a wholesale deal with enterprise Internet and cloud services provider EarthLink that will allow EarthLink to launch consumer-facing mobile WiMAX and LTE services in 2013.
EarthLink said the wireless service, which does not yet have a branded name, will initially target consumers for in-home use, and is expected to launch in the late first quarter or early second quarter of next year, according to EarthLink spokeswoman Michele Sadwick. The companies said future product offerings will include mobile devices and new services for small business customers. EarthLink and Clearwire did not reveal pricing, or which devices the new service will use, but Sadwick hinted at some kind of modem offering.
For Clearwire, the deal represents a validation of its model and another wholesale customer. Clearwire lost Comcast and Time Warner Cable as resellers of its WiMAX service following the MSOs' decision to sell AWS spectrum to and partner with Verizon Wireless (NYSE:VZ).
Currently Sprint Nextel (NYSE:S) remains Clearwire's largest wholesale customer, though it no longer holds a majority ownership stake in Clearwire. Over the past several months Clearwire has been picking up new wholesale partners, the largest of which is Cricket provider Leap Wireless (NASDAQ:LEAP), which will take advantage of Clearwire's planned TD-LTE network. Clearwire has also inked wholesale deals with FreedomPop, Jolt Mobile, H2O Wireless and Voyager Mobile.
Clearwire expects to launch TD-LTE on 5,000 cell sites by June 30, 2013. The company has selected some of its TDD-LTE vendors and expects to announce them in October.
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