Verizon Wireless denies Clearwire wholesale talks

Verizon Wireless (NYSE:VZ) CEO Dan Mead denied reports that the carrier is talking to Clearwire (NASDAQ:CLWR) about buying capacity on Clearwire's network. "We're any talks" with Clearwire about spectrum, Mead told Reuters.

In a series of interviews with media outlets last month, Clearwire CEO Eric Prusch said that Clearwire was negotiating with a range of carriers, including Verizon, AT&T Mobility (NYSE:T), MetroPCS (NASDAQ:PCS) and Cricket provider Leap Wireless (NASDAQ:LEAP) to sell them capacity on its network. The talks, which had not yet yielded any new wholesale relationships, seemed to be an indication of the funding crunch Clearwire is facing as well as the willingness of Sprint Nextel (NYSE:S), Clearwire's majority owner and largest wholesale customer, to allow Clearwire to find new wholesale partners.

A Clearwire spokesman did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Since Prusch made those comments about potentially selling capacity to other carriers, Sprint has forged ahead with plans to deploy LTE by mid-2012 on its 1900 MHz spectrum, essentially cutting Clearwire out of its LTE plans. Clearwire has said it needs to raise between $150 million and $300 million for the maintenance of its existing WiMAX network and $600 million to begin rolling out LTE-Advanced network technology using the TDD configuration.

In the interview with Reuters, Mead said Verizon is pleased with its spectrum holdings and its LTE buildout, which now covers more than 160 million POPs. He also said that by year-end Verizon will increase the number of LTE devices in its portfolio from 14 to more than 20 by year-end.

For more:
- see this Reuters article

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