Clearwire squeezes $1bn out of Sprint for wholesale

US carriers Sprint Nextel and Clearwire have come to an accord over their somewhat unhappy marriage in the US. The pair had been bickering over wholesale prices that Sprint pays to Clearwire for the resale of WiMAX services.

In an amendment to their existing agreement, new wholesale pricing terms will see that Clearwire gets a minimum of $1bn from Sprint over the course of 2011 and 2012. This breaks down to a commitment of $300m in 2011, $550m in 2012 and $175m in pre-payments.

The agreement includes usage based pricing and volume discounts as well as minimum payments per 4G device, Clearwire said. The two companies also plan further collaboration over customised solutions, targeted at vertical markets such as enterprise and government as well as the M2M space.

The move puts paid to months of speculation over the future of the partnership. While Sprint continued to reiterate its commitment to Clearwire, rumours abound that the carrier was keen to extricate itself from the venture in order to pursue its own LTE strategy.

“Sprint has been our biggest and most important customer and partner since we launched 4G services in the US more than two years ago,” said John Stanton, Clearwire’s interim CEO. “Today’s agreement further aligns Sprint and Clearwire’s interests and lays the foundation for a continued, constructive relationship. We are pleased to have the resources and partnerships necessary to maintain our 4G leadership and leverage our significant spectrum and capacity for delivering mobile broadband services.”

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