Sprint Back in Control at Clearwire

The share acquisition is made less than a week after Japan's Softbank said that it would acquire a 70 percent in Sprint Nextel.

The Clearwire deal was a widely expected move due to the close relationship between the two companies. While Clearwire's WiMax has lost significant traction, the company claims it has about 11 million subscribers, 9.7 million of which are actually Sprint subscribers that access Clearwire's network via a wholesale agreement. By itself, Clearwire would not be able to survive.

Sprint's decision to acquire a voting majority in Clearwire is another chapter in a rather confusing company history that began with a company that was created as a spin off of Sierra Wireless in 1998, ended up in Flux, a holding company managed by Craig McCraw in 2004. Sprint came into the equation through a partnership agreement by 2007 and as WiMax technology emerged, Clearwire received substantial cash injections that left the company with a 28 percent stake in itself in 2008. 21 percent were owned by Comcast, Intel, Google, Time Warner Cable and Brighthouse, which collectively invested $3.2 billion in Clearwire.

Interestingly, Sprint owned 51 percent of Clearwire back then as well. However, at that time, that 51 percent stake was worth substantially more than it is today - about $7.4 billion.

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  • g00fysmiley
    they probably bought them and were hoping to beat out LTE with wimax and getting other carriers to go with wiMax and thus profit off thier ntwork upgrades... but now that the us is going LTE... the question i have to ask is... why?
  • blakbird24
    Because Clearwire is developing "Advanced-LTE" tech on it's own TD-LTE network. I think Sprint is planning to beat Verizon and AT&T to being the first to unveil "5G". This network is supposed to go operational next spring, with the first consumer availability in early 2014. Seeing as Sprint was the first to offer "4G", it stands to reason that they will try to be the first to take the next step in ambiguous marketing terms, and Advanced-LTE would seem to give them that opportunity.
  • AndrewMD
    Technically SoftBank uses WiMax in Japan, I have their access router when I was there for a couple of months and WiMax is simply awesome there... Here in the US I have Clear and it is okay..