Sprint and Clearwire are apparently set to do the almost unthinkable: Get WiMax off the ground. Fortune is reporting that Sprint and Clearwire are expected to announce as early as tomorrow the formation of a massive WiMax joint venture with Time Warner and Comcast. Intel and Google are rumored to be throwing money at the new WiMax party (more?). If you'll notice, this basically rolls up most of the past WiMax rumors into one convenient ball of fun—indicating they were spot on, or that this is just repackaged BS, so don't throw away the salt lick just yet. Godspeed, WiMax. UPDATE: Matt Richtel at the NYTimes corroborates it.

He puts the deal value at $12 billion all told, with a billion from Comcast, (another) one billion from Intel and half billion each from Time Warner and Google. The other new nugget is the updated timeframe for WiMax: Two years, meaning it'll effectively arrive at the same time as LTE from AT&T and Verizon, making WiMax's uphill battle that much steeper. That said, we'd consider changing "may not be easy for the group to create a wide-ranging and adequately reliable service" to "big ego clusterfuck."

Update 2 The Wall Street Journal brings more color (like that Comcast roped Time Warner into the deal Sprint's request) and more of the human story, odd for usually cold Journal, focusing on surprisingly affable (almost cheery given Sprint's situation) Sprint CEO Dan Hesse: "It's sort of like, 'Dan, you haven't vacuumed the bedroom,"' Mr. Hesse said. "Well, that's because the house is on fire. I will get around to it later." It's not behind the subby wall, so if you've gotten this far into the post, you should read it. [Fortune]