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Sprint Raises 4G Wholesale Stance

8/02/2011 04:47:20 PM Eastern

Overland Park,
Kan. - Sprint will make it easier for regional carriers, cable companies, retailers
and other companies to offer 4G service under their own brand.

The carrier has
begun offering 4G airtime, billing services, customer-care service, tech
support and devices that wholesale buyers of its 3G and 4G services can offer
to end users, the company announced. Previously, Sprint wholesaled 4G airtime
without offering the additional support services.

The change is
permitted under a revised
financial agreement
that Sprint struck earlier in April with Clearwire,
which sells its 4G mobile WiMAX service under the Clear brand and wholesales 4G
service to Sprint. Clearwire is majority owned by Sprint but not controlled by
Sprint.

Clearwire also
wholesale 4G services to companies other than Sprint, but the revised agreement
enables Sprint to target the wholesale market more aggressively, a Sprint
spokesperson said.

As part of the
more aggressive stance, Sprint has begun offering devices to go with its
wholesale service. The devices are the Sierra Wireless 250U 3G/4G data card and
HTC-made Detail 3G/4G handset, which is a rebranded HTC EVO Shift 4G. Sprint's
3G/4G wholesale roadmap includes additional handsets, data cards, hot spot
devices and a fixed-access device due in the coming months, the company said.