Feature Article

January 05, 2011

Sprint Opts to Pass on Acquiring Clearwire Debt

Sprint Nextel has decided not to purchase debt from Clearwire Corp., according to media reports.

Wall Street welcomed the news from Sprint’s point of view, with Sprint shares increasing more than 6 percent, according to an analyst’s blog from Zacks.

The opportunity arose when on Dec. 2, Clearwire said it was raising over $1.1 billion, according to a company statement.

The money is supposed to finance expansion of Sprint’s wireless broadband network, according to Zacks.

The deadline to take part was Jan. 2.

Zacks adds that Clearwire was negotiating for funding with new and current investors.

An analyst’s report from Zacks said that Clearwire is currently risking a default on its loans.

There are connections between Sprint and Clearwire—Sprint Nextel owns 54 percent of Clearwire, according to Zacks. In addition, Sprint has decreased the loss of subscribers by using the Clearwire network. Sprint expanded its 4G network in some 68 U.S. regions by using the Clearwire network.

Sprint gained about 644,000 subscribers in the 3Q 2010, which includes some 364,000 retail subscribers and some 280,000 wholesale and affiliate subscribers, according to Zacks.

Sprint’s revenue has also increased for the first time in three years.

In a related matter, MobilityTechzone analyst and blogger Carl Ford – who is a partner in Crossfire Media, predicts that “with the resignation of Craig McCaw from Clearwire’s board, the future of Clearwire is going to be settled in the near future.” 

He predicts that Clearwire will likely become “part of Sprint again.”

“Sprint and the cable operators all have been using the Clearwire roll-outs to augment their strategies, but the reality is the marketing has never made a great deal of difference in catching the consumer’s attention,” Ford added.

Sprint Nextel is ranked as the third-biggest wireless carrier in the United States.

Ed Silverstein is a MobilityTechzone contributor. To read more of his articles, please visit his columnist page.

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