In order for Sprint and Clearwire to really get this WiMax thing underway nationwide, they’re going to need some pretty substantial moolah — like $3 billion.
According to the Wall Street Journal, “Comcast, the nation’s largest cable operator, would put up as much as $1 billion, while No. 2 Time Warner Cable would add $500 million” along with smaller cable operator Bright House Networks chipping in another $100 million to $200 million. Google’s another possible funding source as well.
It’s not surprising that Comcast and Time Warner want in on the action, as WiMax service would otherwise be competitive to their current broadband offerings. An area of concern, should this partnership materialize, might be whether or not Sprint’s relatively aggressive pricing for data services will mesh with Comcast and Time Warner’s penchant for making money hand over fist. Consumers could ultimately lose out should monthly WiMax service cost more thanks to too many cooks in the kitchen.
That concern might get diluted somewhat, though, as sources familiar with the deal told the Journal that the cable companies would be able to purchase wholesale access and resell it on their own. They’d also get equity stake in the entire project, though, so there’d be an incentive for the WiMax service to make money on the whole, which could result in higher service prices across the board versus if the venture was backed solely by Spint and Clearwire .