Clearwire raises $734M for TDD-LTE network

Clearwire (NASDAQ:CLWR) said it raised a total of $734 million from its recent stock offerings, which it will use to forge ahead with the first phase of its planned TDD-LTE network.

Clearwire said it raised $402.5 million from its own public equity offerings over the past week, as well as $331.4 million via a private stock transaction with its majority owner Sprint Nextel (NYSE:S). Once fees to the underwriters of the offering are paid, Clearwire said it will net $715.5 million in fresh capital. Sprint's equity contribution is one part of $1.6 billion in conditional funding arrangements the two companies announced Dec. 1.

The new cash is more than the original $600 million threshold Clearwire said it needed to build out TDD-LTE across most of its mobile WiMAX footprint, which currently covers around 130 million POPs. In a statement, Clearwire CEO Erik Prusch said the "equity raise is a critical step for Clearwire to achieve its long-term business plan of creating the first wide-channel TDD-LTE 4G network in the U.S."

Sprint envisions using Clearwire's LTE buildout to augment its own FDD-LTE network, which Sprint expects to launch by mid-2012 using its 5X5 G Block of 1900 MHz PCS spectrum. Under the terms between Sprint and Clearwire, Sprint will pay Clearwire up to an additional $350 million in a series of pre-payments over a period of up to two years for LTE capacity if Clearwire achieves certain buildout targets and network specifications by June 2013.

Sprint CFO Joseph Euteneuer said earlier this month at an investor conference that those buildout targets are going to be for hotspots across the country where both companies are seeing high demand. "We are asking them to build out initially to only a portion of what they cover," he said. "It is not the full network that they have to date."

For more:
- see this release
- see this GigaOM post

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