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Clearwire, Best Buy partner in wholesale 4G deal

Thu, 07/29/2010 - 8:45am
Maisie Ramsay, Wireless Week

Best Buy plans to offer house-brand 4G mobile broadband services through a white label deal with Clearwire, the companies announced today. The agreement makes Best Buy the first major wholesaler of Clearwire's mobile WiMAX services outside of the company's strategic investors.

"We're quite excited that we're able to expand our network of networks beyond our existing investors," said Teresa Elder, Clearwire's president of strategic partnerships and wholesale. "We're absolutely serious about the wholesale model and have unmatched spectrum capacity to bring on major players like this."

Beginning in 2011, Best Buy will add a 4G tier to the Best Buy Connect mobile broadband service, which currently offers 3G mobile broadband on Sprint's network.

"This agreement paves the way to providing one-stop shopping and support for mobile broadband as more people become more connected across all kinds of devices," said Jed Stillman, vice president of Best Buy Connect.

Best Buy did not release pricing details for the new 4G offering, but its 3G services cost $29.99 per month for 250 MB, $39.99 per month for 500 MB and $59.99 per month for 5 GB.

Clearwire's wholesale agreement with Best Buy was negotiated separately from its deal with Sprint, Elder said. Sprint owns a majority stake in Clearwire.

The wholesale agreement between Clearwire and Best Buy could be a harbinger of deals to come. Clearwire is currently talking to a variety of prospective wholesale partners, including wireless operators, cable companies, wireline operators and retailers, Elder said. "We really feel that adding new distribution points is beneficial for the whole network of networks that we're supporting," she said.

More Broadband Direct 7/29/10:

•  Charter appoints Jacobson to board, preps for Nasdaq listing
•  Verizon tunes up TV Everywhere with Turner
•  Clearwire, Best Buy partner in wholesale 4G deal
•  Motorola's profit soars on Droid, public safety
•  Arris' Q2 net slips a bit
•  SureWest narrows loss in Q2
•  Report: Wright leaves Time Warner Cable's K.C. system
•  Elemental raises $7.5M in Series B round
•  Review: Hulu Plus takes television to your pocket
•  Panasonic returns to black on growing sales
•  PlayStation and TVs drive Sony back to black in April-June quarter
•  Broadband Briefs for July 29, 2010
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