Well, they finally did it. The long engagement between Clearwire (CLWR) and Sprint’s Xohm has finally ended in a wedding. In a release on Friday the two announced that the vows have been taken, the bride has been kissed, and wedding presents from Intel, Time Warner Cable, Comcast, and Google in the amount of $3.2B are already being unwrapped. It was a bit earlier than expected, but after the FCC and Clearwire shareholders approved earlier this month it was just a matter of taking care of loose ends.
It will be interesting to see what the combined company really looks like when it reports earnings somewhere around February. But I give the media until, say, Monday morning to start talking about how $3.2B isn’t enough and that the company’s future is bleak and that they will need more cash that they can’t get and are therefore doomed Doomed DOOMED! After all, optimism isn’t permitted in telecom these days, it must be crushed.
Of course, it’s all just spin. $3.2B will last quite a while and the plan to use it can change. For the forseeable future, WiMax will be successful on a per-market basis. Clearwire’s task is not to blanket the USA with WiMax on $3.2B, its task is to build a viable company on $3.2B by building out WiMax markets. There’s a difference. The plan will evolve continuously over the next few years
I still envy Clearwire. There’s nothing more fun to an engineer than to build something new, something the world has never seen, something that could change the face of the industry and change how the world does things. Of course, it may not, it may flop like muni-wifi. But that’s not going to be judged today. So my congrats to Clearwire and Sprint’s Xohm on the happy day, I hope the honeymoon lasts past the weekend.
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