Deutsche Telekom's T-Mobile USA unit is getting closer to a deal to buy spectrum from Clearwire (NASDAQ:CLWR), according to a Bloomberg report--the latest twist in the long-rumored relationship between the two companies.
According to the report, which cited unnamed sources familiar with the matter, T-Mobile is the only potential bidder for Clearwire's spectrum and a deal could happen by the end of the first quarter. T-Mobile CTO Neville Ray said at the carrier's investor conference last month that the company does not need spectrum in the near-to-medium term, which could give T-Mobile leverage over Clearwire. T-Mobile has been upgrading its HSPA+ network and has not committed to deploying LTE in the near term.
Clearwire, which recently announced a debt offering of $1.33 billion, is seeking additional funding sources to continue its mobile WiMAX network buildout. Clearwire's WiMAX network is in 71 markets and covers roughly 120 million POPs.
Representatives for Clearwire and T-Mobile declined to comment.
Clearwire late last year disclosed plans to sell off some unneeded spectrum. CFO Erik Prusch said late last year Clearwire was exploring several different options, including selling off spectrum in regional or market-by-market chunks. He said in the top 100 markets Clearwire has 150 MHz to 160 MHz of spectrum.
- see this Bloomberg article
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