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Sprint ends WiMax partnership talks with Clearwire

Sprint Nextel Corp. and Clearwire Corp. have ended pursuit of their high-speed wireless Internet network partnership after failing to reach agreement.

In light of the failure to settle on how to share the costs and work with Clearwire, Sprint is reviewing its WiMax business plans and outlook, the company said in a statement issued early Friday.

Sprint executives said they would comment further about their decisions early next year.Sprint, the nation’s No. 3 wireless company, remains “fully committed” to developing a new national network and services that would use WiMax technology, according to a Sprint statement.

Sprint is expected to continue working with Clearwire, though leaders for the two companies were unable to “resolve complexities” in their WiMax negotiations.

“We are on track for soft launch late this year in the Chicago and Baltimore/Washington markets and commercial launch in 2008,” Keith Cowan, Sprint’s president of strategic planning and corporate initiatives, said in a statement.

Sprint still can work with Clearwire on issues such as when customers are traveling and they roam from one company’s WiMax network to another’s, Cowan said.

Sprint and Clearwire announced in July that they had a letter of intent to pursue a cooperative effort.

Already under pressure to boost sales and sign new customers for its wireless phone business, Sprint had been confronting concerned investors worried about its plans to spend billions of dollars on a new network.

The proposed pact with Clearwire was touted as a way to share the costs and work of the initiative.

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