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Shares of Clearwire have been on an absolute roller coaster in the past three months, usually swinging wildly based on the movements of partner and investor Sprint. Today was another one of those days, with shares of Clearwire surging nearly 20 percent after news emerged that Sprint may actually extend a network partnership beyond 2012.

In a conference call today, Sprint CEO Dan Hesse said that it may turn to Clearwire to handle traffic on a 4G Long-Term Evolution network. A deal has not yet been inked, but Hesse said that they are “making very good progress on the technical front with Clearwire,” according to a Bloomberg report.

Earlier this month, Clearwire took a beating after  Sprint announced an aggressive new 4G network expansion plan that appeared to bypass its long-time partner. At the time, McAdams Wright Ragen analyst Sid Parakh wrote that “Sprint’s decision to deploy its own LTE network raises doubts about the potential for any substantial future agreement between the two companies.”

Now, it appears that a deal is back on the table.

Clearwire, which is trading at about $1.60, still faces a financing challenge in raising cash to support its own LTE network build out. And investors still have largely lost faith in the Kirkland company, with shares down more than 60 percent on the year.

Hesse’s remarks were made in conjunction with the company’s third quarter earnings report in which Sprint added nearly 1.3 million net new subscribers. The company said those additions came without the benefit of the launch of the iPhone 4S on Sprint, which occurred October 14th. In the call, Hesse said that they expect the lifetime value of an iPhone customer to be at least 50 percent greater than a typical smartphone customer, reports Fierce Wireless.

Full earnings press release here.

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