Sprint's Hesse willing to fill Clearwire's funding gap--if there is one

As Clearwire looks for more funding to complete its mobile WiMAX network buildout, Sprint will help fill Clearwire's funding gap if necessary CEO Dan Hesse said.

"If the funding is not there, we are clearly willing and able to step up to our fair share of whatever that funding requirement is," Hesse said at the Goldman Sachs Communacopia conference, according to IDG News Service. "Our goal with Clearwire is just that they keep building out that 4G network very, very quickly," he added.

Clearwire plans on covering 80 markets by the end of 2010, but needs around $2.3 billion in new funding to complete its network buildout. Hesse also said Sprint, which operates as an MVNO of Clearwire's mobile WiMAX service, intends to maintain its majority ownership in Clearwire.

He also said the operator's 3G EV-DO data traffic can be offloaded onto Clearwire's network, allowing Sprint to save money on capex in the long run. "Once 4G is launched in a market, our capex in that market basically stops," he said.

Earlier this week, Clearwire CEO Bill Morrow said that the company wants to find additional sources of investment by year-end. In an interview with Dow Jones Newswires, he said that new funding likely will not come in the form of a debt offering, but rather through funding from its current investors, which include Google, Intel and Comcast.

For more:
- see PC World
- read the Kansas City Business Journal

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