Sprint's decision to launch a nationwide TD-LTE network using Clearwire's 2.5 GHz spectrum could be a big win for the tower companies that will supply the sites for the buildout, according to an analysis by New Street Research.
Sprint will be able to deploy Clearwire's 2.5 GHz spectrum for TD-LTE service on a nationwide basis now that it is flush with fresh capital from SoftBank, which now controls 78 percent of Sprint, according to Sprint CFO Joe Euteneuer. Sprint formally took control of Clearwire earlier this month.
Sprint reported a steeper-than-expected net loss for the second quarter and shed more than 2 million total wireless customers in the period, with much of that related to its June 30 shutdown of its Nextel iDEN network.
Sprint is chugging along toward its goal of covering 200 million POPs with LTE by the end of 2013, but the pace of its deployment has lagged its Tier 1 competitors, including late-comer T-Mobile US, which launched LTE in March and now covers 157 million POPs in 116 markets. Sprint's LTE deployment has been hindered by a variety of factors, ranging from not enough fiber backhaul to issues related to its wide-ranging Network Vision network modernization project.
Sprint soon will begin selling devices that can access LTE services across three separate bands: 800 MHz, 1900 MHz and 2.5 GHz. The carrier currently sells LTE devices that can access LTE on its 800 MHz and 1900 MHz spectrum, and starting later this week the carrier will add 2.5 GHz to that lineup.
After months of wrangling, Sprint has completed its purchase of the remaining 49 percent of Clearwire that it didn't already own. The transaction closed less than one day after Clearwire shareholders approved it in a special meeting held July 8.
Clearwire shareholders approved majority owner Sprint's purchase of the remaining 49 percent of the company that it doesn't already own. The vote puts to rest the bidding war for Clearwire between Sprint and rival Dish Network.
SoftBank CEO Masayoshi Son said that is company is planning to invest $16 billion in Sprint over the next two years. In an interview with Japanese news service Nikkei, Son said that SoftBank wants to make Sprint a more serious challenger for its rivals AT&T and Verizon Wireless which each have nearly twice as many customers as Sprint.
As expected the FCC announced that it unanimously approved SoftBank's $21.6 billion investment in Sprint and Sprint's acquisition of Clearwire, completing the commission's review of the transactions. Sprint's shareholders approved the SoftBank deal June 25 and Clearwire's shareholders are scheduled to vote on Sprint's acquisition of Clearwire on July 8.
Japanese operator SoftBank's $21.6 billion bid for Sprint is said to have received the approval of the FCC. Although the regulatory body has made no formal announcement Bloomberg citing people familiar with the deal, reported that two of the FCC's three commissioners have approved the transaction. That approval includes Sprint's offer to purchase the rest of Clearwire that it doesn't already own.