Wireless Internet provider Clearwire Corp. and cellular operator Sprint Nextel Corp. have reportedly restarted talks to combine their high-speed wireless WiMax networks.
Sprint and Clearwire are discussing a joint venture that would attract funding from Intel Corp., a major backer of WiMax technology, which promises faster wireless Web connection speeds for laptops and cell phones than mobile operators' third-generation networks.
The companies have also approached Google Inc. and Best Buy Inc. about financing, according to a Wall Street Journal report.
Sprint has started rolling out its WiMax network in some markets and has said it wants to reach 100 million U.S. consumers by the end of this year.
Helen Chung, a Clearwire spokeswoman, declined to comment on the report. A Sprint spokesman did not immediately return a call and an e-mail for comment.
The companies' first attempt to forge a WiMax partnership ended in November, sending shares of the much smaller Clearwire down more than 40 percent in the ensuing weeks. Since then, the companies have discussed a plan to spin off Sprint's WiMax unit, called Xohm, and merge it with Clearwire, according to the report.
Clearwire operates pre-WiMax networks in 46 U.S. markets, including Seattle, Syracuse, N.Y., and Duluth, Minn. The Seattle-based company, founded by cellular pioneer Craig McCaw, is testing a full-fledged WiMax network in Portland, Ore.
Shares of Clearwire skyrocketed $2.43, or 19.5 percent, to $14.88 in afternoon trading, while Sprint's stock jumped 78 cents, or 7.8 percent, to $10.75.