Sprint Offers $2.1 Billion for Rest of Clearwire

**Editor’s Note: Please click


for a recap of the biggest channel-impacting mergers in Q3 2012 or


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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