Or will Clearwire remain standing while the Sprint 2G/3G firm goes under? Sprint's latest revenue and earnings are pretty horrifically bad. The company has been shedding operations and divisions for years like a rapidly falling balloon trying to heave off ballast to stay aloft. The company spun off its wireline division as Embarq; its 4G network portfolio and operations to the new Clearwire, of which it owns 51 percent; and now may throw 5,000 to 7,000 workers an Ericsson group to handle cellular network management.
You don't take your core operational responsibility and outsource it and expect to survive, I'm afraid. Sprint runs a perfectly fine network, but by outsourcing to Ericsson, it shifts the objective to Ericsson producing a profit at a specific quality level rather than having operational quality be a core company mandate. (This is no knock on Ericsson, which could be a firm of superstars. It's just that Ericsson's interests aren't aligned with Sprint's.)
The Associated Press, as most accounts do, ignores Sprint Nextel's continued failed migration of public safety networks to new frequencies, a multi-year failure allowed by the FCC, and for which Sprint still has billions in reserve to pay for--but also an uncapped liability. At some point, it's possible that the number of remaining networks and the cost for buying new gear and moving public-safety systems will swamp the company more than its negative earnings and drop in postpaid subscribers. I'm always stunned when I don't see this mentioned, because it's a constant weight on the company's future.
It's possible that Sprint could disappear or be absorbed into Verizon, the only company with compatible CDMA network technology, and that would leave the WiMax division potentially on its own, or with a new majority owner that wouldn't allow it to thrive.