Sprint commits to iDEN, revives Clearwire talks

Sprint put an end to speculation that the company might sell its Nextel Direct Connect iDEN network. The firm today released a statement from President and CEO Dan Hesse saying that Sprint will focus on enhancing Direct Connect in 2008 with extra functionality and features such as 'push-to-x,' which allows users to instantly send a text message or an image.

Of course, the push-to-x capability is something that Qualcomm has touted for its QChat service, which Sprint is supposed to deploy this quarter. Sprint, however didn't refer specifically to QChat in its statement. In a research note, Pali Research analyst Walter Piecyk noted the company's failure to mention QChat and said that he is doubtful that Sprint will meet its deadline to deploy the advanced technology. In addition, he reiterated his firm's belief that Sprint would be better served by selling the iDEN network along with its 2.5 GHz spectrum.

Speaking of Sprint's 2.5 GHz spectrum, the Wall Street Journal is reporting that the two firms have revived their talks about forming a joint venture and are bringing in outside funding from firms such as Google, Intel and retailer Best Buy. The plan could lower the deployment costs of WiMAX and allow Sprint to focus on its core cellphone business.

Of course, this renewed joint venture discussion isn't a shock to FierceWireless. In our 2008 predictions, we speculated that the two firms would eventually hook up on their WiMAX plans.  

For more on Sprint's iDEN statement:
- see this release

For more on Sprint and Clearwire:
- see this WSJ article (sub. req.) 

Related stories:
Sprint cuts CFO, CMO and sales head. Article 
Sprint: Cutting 4K jobs, closing 8% of stores. Article 
QChat exec talks next-gen PTT. Article

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