A court in Illinois has ruled that Sprint Nextel and its affiliate operator iPCS must go to trial to decide whether Sprint is contravening the terms of their partnership agreement by offering WiMAX services through its Clearwire venture in iPCS franchise areas. Under the agreement iPCS has exclusivity on offering Sprint wireless services in parts of Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Missouri and Nebraska. Sprint has already been ordered to stop marketing its Nextel iDEN service in iPCS territories. Cook County Circuit Judge Kathleen Pantle has now issued a ruling stating: ‘Sprint and those acting in concert with Sprint may not compete against iPCS in iPCS’s exclusive service areas.’ A hearing, which is due to begin on 30 March, will decide whether the exclusivity agreement should include Sprint’s WiMAX joint venture which operates under the Clearwire name. Sprint argues that the Clearwire venture is a separate entity and should not be covered by the terms of the affiliate deal.