Comcast (Nasdaq: CMCSA) likes owning about 9 percent of Clearwire (Nasdaq: CLWR) and enjoying a strategic founders' relationship on the wholesale side, but it doesn't want to put any more money into it, said CFO Michael Angelakis.
"We have no commitment to invest any further (and) I don't think we really intend to invest," Angelakis said during a webcast at Goldman Sachs Communacopia conference. "I think Clearwire has to figure this out."
Clearwire, as a start-up and as Comcast's only visible mobile wireless play, is in constant need of funds. Sprint (NYSE: S), which owns more than half of the venture, has quashed rumors that it might buy up the whole thing, so the funding is a bit up in the air. Perhaps what Angelakis likes about Clearwire is also what's holding Comcast back from any further investment. "They really have a terrific strategic advantage with regards to ... 4G and throughput and those types of issues," he enthused.
Those types of issues have created a firestorm on Broadband Reports where the carrier's bandwidth throttling policies for excessive usage are being aired. "Clearwire isn't being particularly, well, clear about what triggers this throttling," the site reports, noting that a company statement offered some clarity as to why a broadband user would see speeds drop to 256 Kbps. "If we experience network congestion, we are committed to dealing with everyone fairly and we do not target specific applications," the company's statement said. "The heaviest of users may give up a small amount of bandwidth so that everybody has a good experience."
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