US operator Clearwire has put its spectrum on the auction block as it seeks funding to build out its 4G business.
Aiming to raise $2.5 billion (€1.7 billion) to $5 billion, it has already attracted the interest of rival mobile operators and cable giant Time Warner, Bloomberg reports.
The auction, run by Deutsche Bank, is now in its second round. Clearwire’s majority shareholder, Sprint Nextel, is among potential buyers, along with AT&T, T-Mobile parent Deutsche Telekom and Verizon.
Clearwire’s plans to roll out a nationwide mobile Wimax network have stalled because of a lack of funding. Investors have cooled on the stock because of the imminent launch of LTE.
It said last month it was looking for additional funds to fuel expansion and has had discussions with potential investors, including T-Mobile USA. Three Sprint executives recently resigned from Clearwire’s board, in a bid to boost its investment potential.
The company needs $2 billion by the fourth quarter to fund its network construction, Bloomberg said.
Clearwire has an average of 120 MHz of spectrum in each market across the US, and is offering to sell 40 MHz. A price of 20-40 cents per MHz per US resident would reach the $2.5 billion to $5 billion mark, according to Wells Fargo Securities.
The operator received $1.6 billion from investors last year to fund network expansion.
Clearwire’s Nasdaq stock closed at $7.21, up 6.81%. Sprint Nextel’s share price rose 3 cents but dropped 1 cent in after-hours trading on the NYSE.