WiMax provider Clearwire has signed a reseller deal with electronics retailer Best Buy -- the first wholesale distribution agreement for Clearwire outside of its strategic investors, which include Comcast and Time Warner Cable.
The Minneapolis-based retailer will offer Clearwire's 4G network services through its Best Buy Connect LLC subsidiary. Beginning in 2011, Best Buy Connect will add a new 4G tier powered by the Clearwire network in "dozens" of cities; expected pricing and other details were not announced.
Clearwire is majority-owned by Sprint Nextel with minority stakes held by investors including Comcast, Time Warner Cable, Bright House Networks, Intel and Google. Best Buy Connect currently offers 3G data service through a deal with Sprint, with plans starting at $29.99 for 250 Megabytes of data usage per month.
"Our strategic wholesale agreement with Clearwire will enable Best Buy Connect to leverage the Clearwire 4G network's speed and bandwidth to deliver compelling new mobile broadband experiences for our customers," Best Buy Connect vice president Jed Stillman said in a statement. "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."
Clearwire's network in the U.S. currently covers approximately 51 million people, and the company expects to cover up to 120 million people in the 100 biggest U.S. markets with its 4G network by the end of 2010.
As of March 31, 2010, Clearwire had 971,000 customers, of which 157,000 were through wholesale partners including Comcast, TWC and Sprint. Clearwire forecasts having 2 million WiMax subs by year-end. Clearwire plans to announce its second-quarter 2010 financial results next Wednesday, Aug. 4.
In most markets, the company's own Clear retail service offers unlimited 4G plans starting at $30 per month for home users and $40 per month for mobile users. Clearwire touts average mobile download speeds of 3 to 6 Megabits per second with bursts over 10 Mbps.
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