Sprint Buys Majority Share of Clearwire

Sprint now controls 50.8 percent of Clearwire, giving it majority control over the company according to a Reuters report.

With its majority control of stock Sprint can control what moves Clearwire makes without much interference. Sprint previously controlled slightly less than 50 percent of Clearwire’s stock. The deal to buy a majority control of Clearwire cost the company $100 million.

Clearwire is a major partner for Sprint thanks to its license agreements for large amounts of spectrum in the U.S. Clearwire plans to begin rollout of TD-LTE in the U.S. next year, and now Sprint has more control over the rollout.

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Before the deal which saw Sprint buy stock from another shareholder, speculation was that it would buy Clearwire outright.

Sprint also recently closed a deal that would sell 70 percent of itself to Japanese carrier Softbank. Softbank will help give the U.S. carrier the capital it needs to build out its 4G LTE network. That capital could also help the company make deals with Clearwire for a faster 4G LTE rollout.

Between its two recent deals Sprint is closer to a faster 4G LTE network which it needs to compete with AT&T and Verizon. Among the three major U.S. carriers with 4G LTE Sprint has the smallest network. Both Verizon and AT&T are rolling out their networks faster than Sprint which recently announced more than 120 cities that will get 4G LTE at an unspecified time.

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Sprint also needs to compete with T-Mobile which recently made a deal to merge with MetroPCS which would help kickstart its own 4G LTE network. Before the Softbank acquisition Sprint wanted to break up that merger with its own offer for MetroPCS, but that seems unlikely now.

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