Sprint buys majority stake in Clearwire, taking control over the network operator

Sprint buys majority stake in Clearwire, taking control over the network operator
Sprint has acquired a majority stake in Clearwire, and now owns 50.8% of the wireless data provider. This allows the carrier to now take the decisions in Clearwire.

Clearwire is valuable to Sprint because it owns costly spectrum. The decision would simplify the process of taking decisions and will help the carrier faster roll out its 4G LTE network.

The deal comes right after Japanese carrier SoftBank announced it will acquire 70% of Sprint for $20.1 billion. This cash injection comes in a tough transition period for the carrier and allows it to continue investing in its network as it migrates to 4G LTE.

The new Sprint under SoftBank’s rule is not ruled out to completely buy Clearwire, but that is not absolutely necessary for the company. The wireless network operator has long been the backbone to Sprint’s 4G WiMAX service, but faced financial difficulties and relied on cash infusions from outside investors to survive. Still, the spectrum it owns will make it easier for Sprint to deploy a state-of-the-art 4G LTE network.

“U.S. citizens don’t have this experience of high speed,” SoftBank chief executive Masayoshi Son said earlier, on Monday. “We’re going to bring that to the States.”

And by upping its stake to 50.8%, Sprint is clearly trying to do just that.



1. rocko0011

Posts: 34; Member since: Jul 08, 2011

Will it be comparable to Verizon 4G LTE? I have hope in you Sprint


Posts: 1457; Member since: Mar 09, 2010

TDD 2500 LTE is it that is to roll out now Clear

3. -box-

Posts: 3991; Member since: Jan 04, 2012

Yeah, but how long until sprint is able to get it converted and compatible with its phones? I would guess around 2015 or later for most of its phones to work on it, presuming it is done by then. Wouldn't surprise me if T-Mo gets nationwide LTE coverage first, and they don't even need it.

16. deathyyy

Posts: 101; Member since: Dec 20, 2011

Pretty sure all the major devices Sprint has are LTE, not WiMax..

4. networkdood

Posts: 6330; Member since: Mar 31, 2010

“U.S. citizens don’t have this experience of high speed,” SoftBank chief executive Masayoshi Son said earlier, on Monday. “We’re going to bring that to the States.” It is already here...I get 25-35mbps down with Comcast and around 10-20mbps with VZW depending on where I am.

12. downphoenix

Posts: 3165; Member since: Jun 19, 2010

yea but a lot of places have pathetic broadband speeds. I get about 45mbps through Charter right now, and only paying for 30 :)

5. tokuzumi

Posts: 1827; Member since: Aug 27, 2009

Overall, this is a good move for sprint, from a spectrum standpoint, but Clear's LTE network will run on the same 2500 mHz which it used for WiMAX. Not very good building penetration. Even if LTE is faster than WiMAX, you will get nearly the same speeds as WiMAX, unless you are outside. That is why Sprint is trying to transition its LTE network onto the old iDEN network (800 mHz). This will mean better coverage with fewer towers. Either way, I want Sprint to succeed in their 4G network, as we are quickly running out of carriers here in the US. It's quickly becoming just Verizon and AT&T :-(

7. Mxyzptlk unregistered

Spectrum that will not work as well since building penetration sucks like you said above.

8. lsutigers

Posts: 832; Member since: Mar 08, 2009

Not the case, TD LTE is much better at building penetration. Clear has already addressed this in their testing. That is one of the reasons they went TD vs FD. Compatibility has also been addressed and the chips will be able to do both with seamless interoperability. Clear is deploying on 20x20 MHz carriers and their network is supposed to be one of the fastest Wireless networks in the world, speeds close to 100mbps Is what they have projected.

6. Mxyzptlk unregistered

Does Sprint enjoy making bad decisions? Why would they waste money in Clear when they're burning through cash and racking up piles of debt? Can't save a sinking ship.

9. KickRocks

Posts: 267; Member since: Mar 22, 2011

Another week and its bye bye sprint. If or when you FINALLY get it together perhaps I will come back snail speed unlimited data is WORTHLESS. Your broken promises with wimax, crappy 3g and continued setbacks with lte has been the straw that broke the camels back for me. I hope you get it together over the next year or so. Good luck.

11. ECPirate37

Posts: 296; Member since: Jul 14, 2011

I live in NYC and average 10-12 Mbps download on WiMax, and around 1.5 upload. (Of course I took Smith off of my phone to do that, before that I was only getting 4-5 Mbps) And I had often wondered why people thought Sprint was so slow. But on a recent trip out west, I noticed in LA even on 4G it was slooooooooooooooooow. However, in Seattle it was avg 12 Mbps. I guess it all depends on where you live. For me, in NYC Sprint is far and away the best deal with the unlimited data since I stream Netflx and HBOgo on trips. Finally, KickRocks is an awesome name! It took me back to 8th grade when me and my friends always said that instead of goodbye. haha

14. KickRocks

Posts: 267; Member since: Mar 22, 2011

Lol. If only sprint was decent in the DC area..........It has just been in the toilet for more than a year here.

18. lsutigers

Posts: 832; Member since: Mar 08, 2009

I travel to DC every couple of months and Sprint 3G and 4G WiMAX are excellent in DC / Virginia area, don't know where you are but data speeds have consistently been very good in that area, mainly because Sprint has a ton of government / corporate contracts.

13. downphoenix

Posts: 3165; Member since: Jun 19, 2010

wont miss you :)

15. KickRocks

Posts: 267; Member since: Mar 22, 2011

Wont miss ya either

10. Twisted247

Posts: 282; Member since: Oct 12, 2012

After all the articles saying Sprint wasn't going to buy clearwire they do. But hell I have faith, they have been making consistent improvements recently and Softbank will only help they have a great track record and are already proven in the market. As for buying Clear I don't know why you say it was a bad idea, Clear is a great company with good product. They have kick ass coverage here in the NW and get great reception. As for the guys speaking about fd vs td LTE can you explain the differences? Also if anyone in here knows the difference between the mhz ratings on LTE what is the difference and how do they work? Why is one better then another for building penetration? I also noticed AT&T recently aquired 2300mhz LTE bands(which is the one close.to sirius radios bandwith, they offered sirius a buffer of like 10-20mhz on both sides of their channel to avoid any issues with their signal). But ya can you guys comment on the above paragraphs first 3 questions. I'm not asking to prove anything etc I honestly don't know how that works and would like to know what people mean when they are speaking about it. Thanks

22. CopticWalad

Posts: 1; Member since: Oct 19, 2012

They didn't buy 100% of Clear, just 50.8% so that they they have a bigger presence in their decision making.. which comes down to 13 Major Board Members (where they currently and will still have 7 Members but need 10 out of 13 Votes for major decisions). Sounds like to me staff and company will continue to run like before but majority helps keep their future strategy in order with Sprint. As for TD vs FD, it gets complicated but basically China is all TD-based while we mostly have FD in the states and is regulated with channels, whereas TD doesn't and is cheaper and has more dynamic capacity which could lead to faster deployment. Read more here,http://www.differencebetween.com/difference-between-fdd-lte-fd-lte-and-vs-tdd-lte-td-lte-networks/ As for Mhz... basically Lower frequency in terms of physics means longer wavelength, which helps it reach farther areas and penetrate buildings, air, water better than higher frequencies. This is evident this past year with how well Verizon's LTE network has spread drastically, which is operating at 700 Mhz LTE. However, higher frequencies have the big advantage of Capacity, which many LTE users lately have noticed about Verizon's LTE slowing down because of the saturation of users. Sprint's Wimax is 2500 Mhz, which explains spotty coverage outside of major cities, Sprint's LTE is 1900 Mhz and next year will release add LTE-Advanced 800 Mhz (which will really help out rural areas and building penetration). iDEN Nextel is currently on the 800 Mhz along with some CDMA transferred form 1900Mhz if my understanding is correct. So really Sprint has capabilities for hitting Majorly populated areas with high-capacity 1900 Mhz LTE along with 800Mhz range boosts to reach peoples basements and farmers. I'm a believer in Sprint, but just hope they work much more efficiently because everything seems set up nicely, it's just a matter of properly prioritizing LTE locations and putting the money where it's most important. I just wish our phones had adaptable LTE frequencies (or swappable antennas like batteries) because none right now support LTE-Advanced 800Mhz, and that's so disappointing because we'll want it next year but are stuck in a 2 year contract. It's the only con I see for Galaxy Note II which I'll probably be still getting.

24. Twisted247

Posts: 282; Member since: Oct 12, 2012

Thank you, greatly appreciated : ) So your saying they can operate on one frequency and use a secondary as a boost (so run on the one which promotes better coverage, building penetration, reception and use the one which is better for speed as a booster or visa versa as well) . Am I understanding this correctly? (obviously saying it in a very watered down version.) I am about to read the link you posted after this

17. hcbarclay

Posts: 62; Member since: Dec 20, 2009

i got a dollar, i got a dollar, hey hey hey hey!!!

19. lsutigers

Posts: 832; Member since: Mar 08, 2009

I think the 50.8% investment is part of the strategy for now. Once the Sprint / Softbank merger is approved I see Clearwire going away and Sprint taking over. Softbank doesn't want to make it too obvious that Sprint owns a lot of spectrum in addition to Clear's stockpile.

20. Naitto

Posts: 50; Member since: Sep 15, 2012

Way to go Sprint, Making this investment in Clearwire, FCC & DOJ will block the Softbank merger for sure.

21. equan2011

Posts: 1; Member since: Sep 07, 2011

why everybody got to hate on sprint fcc & doj will not block this deal this is not a merger.wgat is people thats with at&t and verizon getting scare that sprint finally going to compete with the two giants. verizon and at&t are like Republicans want to control everything and dont want thing at the bottom to come out on top same with the middle class poor stay poor rich stay rich.

23. Naitto

Posts: 50; Member since: Sep 15, 2012

It's not about a hate for Sprint, I am a Sprint Customer. It's about a Japanese company owning more spectrum then any US company.

25. depeche

Posts: 63; Member since: Feb 04, 2011

This pretty simple stuff here... Why Buy Clearwire when you can control it at a 50.8% Sprint will have LTE comparable to Verizon and AT&T within a year Softbank is bringing better technology to the table & iDen will be be the new LTE

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