Clearwire Wants $480M in IPO

Upstart wireless broadband operator Clearwire LLC (Nasdaq: CLWR) has advanced its IPO plans; revealing late on Tuesday that it hopes to realize up to $480 million in an upcoming flotation.

The Kirkland, Wash.-based Craig McCaw venture says that it plans to offer 20 million shares at between $23-$25 on the Nasdaq as soon as it can. The operator issued a preliminary prospectus for a share sale with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Tuesday, saying that it plans to IPO as soon as possible after the share sale is registered.

Clearwire revealed that it would take another swing at going public in an S-1 filing late last year. Previously, the company had plotted an IPO in May of 2006 but dropped those ambitions after it got a massive influx of new funding from Intel Corp. (Nasdaq: INTC) and friends. (See Clearwire Takes Another Cut at IPO.)

Money remains the motivating factor in Clearwire's move to an IPO. The firm revealed in its December document that it plans to move to mobile WiMax from its current pre-WiMax NextNet fixed kit as soon as suitable equipment becomes available.

This is going to require lots of cash over the next couple of years. Clearwire will need to spend money on building cell sites in major cities and acquire enough spectrum to support its move to mobile.

So far, in the U.S., Clearwire has one major nationwide mobile WiMax rival in the shape of Sprint Corp. (NYSE: S), which plans to launch an 802.16e-based network in 2008. Behind the scenes though, Sprint is by no means the only large operator looking into WiMax as a potential next-generation network technology. (See Sprint's Got WiMax Plans.)

Clearwire will list under the stock ticker code, CLWR.

— Dan Jones, Site Editor, Unstrung

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