Sprint Nextel Corp. is reportedly in talks to buy up the 49 percent of Clearwire LLC it doesn't already own to secure its WiMax partner's spectrum for future 4G use.
CNBC cited unnamed sources Tuesday saying that a deal could be announced before the end of the year. CNBC reported that Sprint has been in recent talks with other Clearwire investors -- including Intel Corp. and Comcast Corp. -- to buy their shares of the company at about $3 each. (See Comcast Gets Closer to a Clearwire Sell-Off and TW Cable to Dump Clearwire Stake.)
Thomson Reuters, meanwhile, quotes sources as saying talks are unde rway but that Sprint is in no hurry to get the deal done. There is concern that consolidation between the two companies could affect Sprint's proposed deal with SoftBank Mobile Corp.
Sprint only bought back a controlling stake in Clearwire this October. The companies had been at loggerheads over funding and management not much before that.
A new deal will give Sprint full control over Clearwire's vast 2.5GHz-2.6GHz spectrum holdings in the U.S. SoftBank uses 2.6GHz for its LTE TDD network in Japan, and Clearwire has been testing similar 4G technology stateside, so any talks suggest that the eventual aim of the companies to introduce a faster 4G network for video and data in the U.S. (See Defining 4G: What the Heck Is LTE TDD?)
â€” Dan Jones, Site Editor, Light Reading Mobile