Sprint Offers $2.1 Billion for Rest of Clearwire

By Craig Galbraith Comments

**Editor's Note: Please click here for a recap of the biggest channel-impacting mergers in Q3 2012 or here for the biggest M&A during that time in the service-provider and BSS/OSS spaces.**

Sprint is taking the next big step to compete with bigger rivals AT&T and Verizon, offering $2.1 billion for the rest of Clearwire that it doesn't own. The offer came in a regulatory filing Thursday.

America's third-largest carrier currently owns a little more than half of Clearwire, the Bellevue, Wash.-based broadband provider that is spectrum-rich. Acquiring that spectrum would help Sprint expand its 4G LTE network services across the country.

Big changes are happening at Sprint. Japan's SoftBank – which The New York Times says will have to sign off on the Clearwire deal –  is in the process of buying 70 percent of the company. Sprint is said to be close to a shared-spectrum agreement with DISH Network that would also help it reach more potential customers with its wireless network.

Not only is Sprint trying to catch AT&T and Verizon in the highly competitive wireless race, the company needs to fend off a scrappy T-Mobile USA. The Deutsche Telekom-owned carrier is making a run at third place with its proposed acquisition of fifth-largest provider, MetroPCS – which would put it right on Sprint's tail in terms of subscriber numbers.

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