The same week that a spectrum agreement between Sprint and DISH appears imminent comes news that America’s third-largest carrier might soon announce a deal to buy the remaining half of Clearwire that it doesn’t own.
The famous “people close to the situation” told CNBC that there’s a good chance that the Sprint-Clearwire agreement could come before the year is out. But it is “fraught with difficulty” due to the fact that SoftBank, the Japanese company trying to buy 70 percent of Sprint, is busy lining up its ducks for regulatory approval of that $20 billion transaction.
Another source told the Wall Street Journal that the potential SoftBank-Sprint could keep the sale from happening. It’s also not a given that a “diverse group of Clearwire shareholders” would approve a sale, the financial newspaper reported.
Sprint has reportedly had a number of talks in recent days with Comcast, Bright House Networks and other fellow Clearwire investors about buying them out.
Clearwire is an attractive commodity because of the vast amount of wireless spectrum it owns. Sprint needs it to expand its 4G LTE network; the company is in catch-up mode because Verizon and AT&T launched their networks in 2010 and 2011, respectively. Sprint’s debuted only this past summer.
Broadband provider Clearwire is based in Bellevue, Wash. The company’s stock has doubled since mid-October on all of the Sprint talk.