Clearwire mulls funding options, in talks with T-Mobile USA

WiMAX operator Clearwire (NASDAQ:CLWR) is reviewing its funding options and is in discussions with current and new investors, including T-Mobile USA, a Clearwire spokesman told Bloomberg.

"Other alternative sources are also being considered that include the possibility of issuing additional debt and/or selling a small portion of our assets, which may include spectrum that is not critical to our business plan," said Clearwire spokesman Mike DiGioia.

DiGioia said in an email T-Mobile USA is "one of many companies" with which Clearwire is in discussions. T-Mobile, while aggressively rolling out HSPA+, lacks spectrum for 4G services.

Meanwhile, Sprint (NYSE:S) and Comcast don't have an interest in upping their ownership levels in Clearwire. Last week during an investor conference, Comcast Chief Financial Officer Michael Angelakis said the company, which owns 9 percent of Clearwire, will not likely increase its investment in the operator. Tensions have recently increased over the strategic direction of the WiMAX operator, leading to some questions about Clearwire's next round of financing.

Sprint's CFO Robert Brust also recently indicated that the operator had no plans to buy out its partners in the Clearwire WiMAX venture anytime soon. Brust was addressing analysts' assertions that Sprint would try to gain full ownership of Clearwire to increase its control of the company, which would be beneficial in terms of dictating market rollouts. According to the WSJ, Sprint wants Clearwire to focus on expanding its WiMAX network, which is growing but not fully available in some larger cities like New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco.

For more:
- see this Bloomberg article

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