UPDATE 2-Clearwire, Best Buy in wireless partnership

Thu Jul 29, 2010 10:41am EDT

* Clearwire to let Best Buy use its wireless network

* Best Buy will offer new 4G tier, starting 2011

* Clearwire shares down 2 pct; Best Buy down 0.2 pct (Adds details of partnership, background, shares)

NEW YORK, July 29 (Reuters) - Clearwire Corp CLWR.O has agreed to rent space on its network to Best Buy Co Inc (BBY.N) so that the electronics retailer can sell wireless services directly to consumers, the companies said on Thursday.

Clearwire, which is roughly 54 percent owned by Sprint Nextel (S.N), has long said that it was talking with a wide variety of business customers with an aim to boosting its revenue by renting out unused capacity on it network.

The operator whose other investors include big cable operators and Google Inc (GOOG.O) and Intel Corp (INTC.O) is building a high-speed wireless network based on a new technology known as WiMax.

Under the new deal, Best Buy will offer a new 4G option for its recently launched Best Buy Connect broadband service, starting 2011.

In a bid to win more shoppers, consumer electronics chains like Best Buy are now making a bigger push to become one-stop shops by offering both electronic gadgets as well as the wireless services required to connect them all.

Aside from Sprint, Clearwire's cable investors Comcast Corp (CMCSA.O) and Time Warner Cable Inc (TWC.N) already have wholesale agreements with Clearwire to offer mobile services.

Best Buy shares were down 0.2 percent at $35.08, while Clearwire's stock was down 2 percent at $7.01 on Thursday morning.

(Reporting by Sinead Carew and Dhanya Skariachan, editing by Dave Zimmerman)

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