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IPCS sues Sprint over ‘new’ Clearwire

Only days after Sprint and Clearwire announced plans to combine their respective WiMAX businesses, Sprint affiliate iPCS has slapped a law suit on the third largest operator in the US.

According to the affiliate, the ‘new’ Clearwire would violate a service exclusivity arrangement that it struck with Sprint in 1999 for the seven states in which it has operations.

While iPCS says it wants to block the WiMAX deal and “to fully and aggressively protect and defend its exclusivity rights”, Sprint had taken the precaution of gaining a ruling from Delaware Chancery Court last week that the Clearwire deal didn’t violate its arrangement with iPCS.

iPCS has been one of the more problematic affiliates that has taken issue with Sprint’s activities over the past few years. In 2006, the regional operator threw a legal spanner into the works of Sprint Nextel’s drive for a unified brand, claiming that the merger of the two companies would violate a management agreement between iPCS and Sprint.

Post merger Sprint faced a number of these lawsuits and ended up buying a handful of affiliates. Analysts are speculating once again that Sprint might buy iPCS, although the company has not confirmed yet what its intentions are towards its affiliate.

iPCS sells wireless services under the Sprint brand with coverage for a potential 12 million customers. It has around 640,000 customers.


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