Clearwire, DigitalBridge in S. Carolina WiMax Partnership

Some details are leaking out about an apparent Clearwire-DigitalBridge partnership that is seeking to bid on spectrum that is coming up for grabs in South Carolina. Though nothing official has yet been said publicly by either company, a legislative panel in South Carolina last week apparently recommended a proposed deal by Clearwire and DigitalBridge that would see Clearwire provide WiMax services in urban areas, while DigitalBridge provided WiMax services to rural areas.

According to the news report the deal calls for Clearwire and DigitalBridge to sign a 30-year lease on the state’s spectrum, for $7 million up front and $143 million over the course of the deal. We have queries in to both companies, more as we hear more!

Aside from the deal’s particulars is the interesting idea of Clearwire and DigitalBridge possibly joining forces to form a sort of national WiMax coalition. While DigitalBridge is much smaller in size (and funding), its recent investment from and alliance with the National Rural Telecommunications Cooperative presents the potential of a partnering of Clearwire’s big-urban WiMax markets with any number of rural providers who might use DigitalBridge as a white-label OEM WiMax service provider. A rebel alliance, anyone? To fight the Death Star?

UPDATE, 6/1/09: There is now an official press release on the Clearwire site talking about the proposed deal. According to the release:

Under the plan recommended by the South Carolina Educational Broadband Service Commission, Clearwire would lease approximately 75% of the available spectrum assets and serve primarily urban parts of the state, while DigitalBridge Communications (DBC) would lease 25% and serve primarily rural markets. After a review by the Joint Bond Review Committee, the State Budget and Control Board will consider the commission’s proposal for approval in June.

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