Sprint, Cable Companies form WiMax Venture

The companies said the deal is based on a target price of $20 per share of Clearwire’s common stock, and will also include a $10 million investment from Trilogy Equity Partners, run by veteran wireless executive John Stanton. Closing is expected 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 venture will use Sprint’s existing broadcast wireless towers and its wired fiber network, helping Sprint save on costs.

Under the pact, the cable companies will rent space on the network and offer wireless Internet services under their own brands. They also agreed to offer 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.

(Reporting by Sinead Carew. Additional reporting by Tiffany Wu and Christopher Kaufman. Editing by Derek Caney.)