isn't producing its own smartphone, the company has apparently decided to focus its efforts on maintaining its WiMAX network -- with the help of Ericsson. Yesterday, the 4G operator announced that it had struck a seven-year deal with the Swedish telecom firm, just a few months after fighting a brief trademark lawsuit filed by Sony Ericsson. Under the arrangement, Ericsson will assume all network engineering, operations, and maintenance responsibilities, allowing Clearwire to concentrate on cutting costs and increasing efficiency. Clearwire will retain ownership over its technology and will still handle all customer relations, but about 700 of its employees will be transferred to Ericsson. The Kirkland-based company says its decision was at least partially influenced by new best friend Sprint, which forged a similar partnership with Ericsson back in 2009. Financial details on the new deal remain fuzzy, though Clearwire says it expects to see a major reduction in operating costs -- which sounds like the right prescription. Full presser after the break.