miércoles, mayo 07, 2008

Alianza en USA para la construcción de una red WIMAX de cobertura nacional

Leo la siguiente noticia en Reuters, muy interesante, la comparto con todos:

Sprint, cable form $14.5 billion Clearwire venture
Wed May 7, 2008 5:57pm BST

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Sprint Nextel Corp and top U.S. cable companies are investing in Clearwire Corp to introduce advanced wireless services and get a head start on AT&T and Verizon, but analysts said the seven-way partnership may be too complex to succeed.
The new Clearwire will be a $14.5 billion venture with Sprint, Comcast Corp, Time Warner Cable Inc, Intel Corp, Google Inc and Bright House Networks, to build a high-speed wireless Internet network based on the emerging WiMax technology.
WiMax promises to blanket entire cities with Web access for laptops, cell phones and other wireless devices at fast speeds. It aims to have a service area covering as many as 140 million people in the United States by the end of 2010.
Sprint, which would otherwise have had to invest $5 billion on a solo WiMax network, will now inject WiMax assets valued at $7.4 billion into the venture, giving it 51 percent ownership.
Comcast, Time Warner Cable, Intel, Google and cable operator Bright House will get a combined 22 percent and are expected to kick in $3.2 billion to help finance the project.
Existing shareholders of Clearwire, founded by wireless pioneer Craig McCaw, will own the 27 percent of the venture, which is expected to retain Clearwire's stock symbol.
But analysts queried whether the project would work with so many partners with divergent interests, pointing to the failure of another venture between Sprint and cable -- called Pivot -- which collapsed in April after two-and-a-half years.
"We believe the anti-Verizon and AT&T crowd has been galvanized to fight their dominance in the wireless industry," Bear Stearns analyst Phil Cusick wrote in a research note.
But he said the structure "could leave the insurgents slow to maneuver and open to poor execution."
Clearwire shares, which rose 8.5 percent on Tuesday in anticipation of the deal, fell 2 percent in late morning trading on Nasdaq to $16.13 before regaining some ground early in the afternoon. Sprint stock, which had risen 10 percent the day before, were flat.
Despite the new investment, Clearwire said it would still have to tap debt markets to address a $2 billion to $2.3 billion funding gap for the project.
The companies said the $14.5 billion value is based on a target price of $20 per share of Clearwire's common stock, but said the company could be valued in a range of $17 to $23.
But investors were betting on Wednesday on a price closer to $17.
"Folks are making the bet that the valuation is going to be on the low end of that, or that the deal would fall through," said Pacific Crest Securities analyst Steve Clement, adding the investors were also worried about conflicts of interest between the multiple partners, as well as the funding gap.
"There's lots of hurdles to still overcome," he said, but noted that some investors may simply be selling now that the deal was announced.
The new company is planning a network covering 120 million to 140 million people by the end of 2010 and, if it fills the funding gap, it could have enough cash to expand the network to reach more than 200 million people beyond 2010.
Sprint and Clearwire said the plan would give them a two-year head start on rivals such as AT&T and Verizon Wireless, which are expected to start selling services based on next-generation networks around 2010.
AT&T Inc and Verizon Communications Inc, the top two U.S. telephone companies, have been offering consumers packages of television, Internet, telephone and wireless services to compete against cable, as well as Sprint, which is the third-largest U.S. mobile service provider.
WiMax promises wireless Web speeds up to five times faster than traditional networks. Wi-Fi, by contrast, is a short range service covering small areas like coffee shops.
But WiMax is a largely unproven, which was why Sprint investors were critical of its earlier plan to spend $5 billion by 2010 on the technology. A WiMax partnership between Sprint and Clearwire also fell apart last year because it was too complex.
The deal is expected to close in the fourth quarter. Sprint Chief Technology Officer Barry West will be president of the venture. McCaw will be chairman of a 13-member board, which will have seven directors from Sprint, including its CEO Dan Hesse. Stanton, Comcast CEO Brian Roberts and Time Warner Cable CEO Glenn Britt will also have board seats.
The new company has also attracted $10 million in funding from Trilogy Equity Partners, run by wireless veteran John Stanton.
The venture will use Sprint's existing broadcast wireless towers and its wired fiber network, helping Sprint save money.
Under the pact, Sprint and the cable companies will rent space on the network and offer wireless Web services under their own brands. The cable companies also plan to sell Sprint's existing voice and data services.
Google, for its part, is betting the venture will give traction to its Android operating system for mobile phones. Google will also be the search provider for WiMax services.
Intel will work with manufacturers to embed WiMax chips into its Centrino 2 processor for laptops and mobile Internet devices and will market the new company's service in association with its own brand.

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