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Will China Save Clearwire?

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China makes headlines for its go-go-growth potential almost daily. American tech laggard Clearwire (Nasdaq: CLWR  ) is betting there's hypergrowth behind the hyperbole.

The wireless broadband provider has entered into a deal to help China Mobile (NYSE: CHL  ) build out a high-speed LTE network, roughly equivalent to similar networks that AT&T (NYSE: T  ) and Verizon Wireless (NYSE: VZ  ) are building here.

But this deal isn't just about the network. The two companies also said in a press release that they plan to create an ecosystem for multimodal devices designed for China Mobile's TD-LTE network, which uses the same 2.5-gigahertz band that Clearwire has operated in for years.

Support for multimodal devices is where this partnership gets interesting. Confused? Don't be. "Multimodal" refers to handsets imbued with radios capable of sending and receiving data from a wide range of network protocols. Apple's (Nasdaq: AAPL  ) iPhone 5 is expected to be exactly this sort of device.

If rumors are to be believed -- and with Apple, they usually are -- the device will perform just as well on AT&T's, Verizon's, T-Mobile's, and Sprint Nextel's (NYSE: S  ) varying networks. Now China Mobile is gearing up to host these sorts of smart handsets.

Clearwire, for its part, gets a deep-pocketed partner that may be able to provide the cash infusion it needs. Will the deal pay off? Will Clearwire escape its debt dilemma? I'm asking you. Please vote in the poll below and then use the comments box to tell us what you think about Clearwire's prospects.

Fool contributor Tim Beyers is a member of the Motley Fool Rule Breakers stock-picking team. He owned shares of Apple at the time of publication. Check out Tim's portfolio holdings and Foolish writings, or connect with him on Google+ or Twitter, where he goes by @milehighfool. You can also get his insights delivered directly to your RSS reader.

The Motley Fool owns shares of China Mobile and Apple. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of AT&T, China Mobile, and Apple and creating a bull call spread position in Apple. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

Read/Post Comments (5) | Recommend This Article (6)

Comments from our Foolish Readers

Help us keep this a respectfully Foolish area! This is a place for our readers to discuss, debate, and learn more about the Foolish investing topic you read about above. Help us keep it clean and safe. If you believe a comment is abusive or otherwise violates our Fool's Rules, please report it via the Report this Comment Report this Comment icon found on every comment.

  • Report this Comment On September 20, 2011, at 8:32 PM, bsimpsen wrote:

    "If rumors are to be believed -- and with Apple, they usually are"


    There's so much chaff in the Apple rumor mill you can hardly see your hand in front of your face.

  • Report this Comment On September 20, 2011, at 10:50 PM, larrysd1 wrote:

    Motley is getting behind the curve ! They need to UP there Caps raring on this one,CLWR-Thanks

  • Report this Comment On September 20, 2011, at 10:51 PM, larrysd1 wrote:

    And thanks for all your effort Motley's.

  • Report this Comment On September 21, 2011, at 3:02 AM, jldmt wrote:


    "LightSquared has been talking about the 10-cent filter ever since the issue came up," Gartner told "We've asked to see it. we've asked to test it. And lo and behold, it has never appeared."

    "By all accounts, it does not exist," he said.

    In dramatic, eye-opening testimony before the House Armed Services Committee last week, General William Shelton, head of Air Force Space Command, detailed the results of tests from earlier this year intended to precisely quantify the effect of LightSquared's forthcoming network on GPS.

    "Aviation receivers operating as far as 7.5 miles from LightSquared transmitters completely lost GPS and were degraded out to distances of more than 16.5 miles," Shelton said. "High precision GPS receivers such as those used for surveying and geological study requiring precise measurements were adversely affected out to 213 miles and totally lost GPS out to 4.8 miles."

    Read more:

  • Report this Comment On September 21, 2011, at 10:27 AM, ergms wrote:

    If Apple iphone 5 is going to be sold by sprint? It would make sense that it run on wimax as well.

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