Google, Intel, Comcast and Time Warner may not yet have gotten a financial boost from their investments in Clearwire, but the WiMAX service provider's abundance of spectrum could offer them the opportunity to pursue other wireless innovations.
Those companies and others poured $3.2 billion into Clearwire last year, but because of Clearwire's fluctuating stock price and limited network buildout so far they have been forced to collectively write-down roughly $2 billion. However, Clearwire's vast spectrum holdings may ease some of those financial woes.
According to a MarketWatch article, as a condition of its investment in Clearwire, Google was granted the right to use Clearwire's excess spectrum for unspecified "experimental tests." What Google would use the spectrum for remains a mystery, but it is clear the Internet search giant has a more than a passing affinity for wireless based on its various and wide-ranging mobile efforts. Indeed, Google could possibly use the spectrum to become an MVNO and gain more control over how its Android mobile phone platform is used (the company already launched a WiFi network in its home town of Mountain View, Calif.). Google and Intel also have the right to "wholesale" the spectrum as operators.
"Our commercial agreement with Clearwire includes a number of options which we may or may not pursue, but we have nothing to announce at this time," Google spokesman Andrew Pederson said.
Cable companies are already planning to use the spectrum for wireless services. Comcast plans on reselling Clearwire's mobile WiMAX service in Portland, Ore., later this year. And a Time Warner spokesman told MarketWatch that the company plans to launch wireless Internet service service using the spectrum in an unspecified city later this year.
- see this MarketWatch article
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