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Making Dish network's already unlikely Clearwire takeover bid
even less likely, Clearwire this week announced that they will be taking more Sprint money after all. According to a company press release
, Clearwire will be getting an $80 million payment from Sprint on top of the $2.97-per-share existing offer by Sprint to acquire the rest of Clearwire. Dish had previously stated they'd withdraw their own $3.30-per-share counter-offer if Clearwire accepted that funding. Despite the fact the Sprint financing means the Dish deal is likely dead, Clearwire continues to insist they're engaged in ongoing negotiations with Dish.
Broadband Reports has confirmed that Clearwire is testing new tiered pricing plans in several new markets. Clearwire's new trial pricing plans offer users 2 GB of usage for $20, 40 GB of usage for $40, or an unlimited offering for $60. story continues..
Reports surfaced earlier this week
that Sprint was pushing to acquire the remainder of Clearwire, and now Bloomberg
reports the current acquisition offer is around $2.1 billion for the remaining shares. Sprint's acquisition by Japanese carrier SoftBank is expected to fill the company's coffers, allowing them to finally acquire Clearwire and the company's massive spectrum holdings -- something most saw as the inevitable outcome. Minority Clearwire shareholders Mount Kellet Capital Management LP and Crest Financial Limited have sued to stop the deal
, urging Clearwire to look for better offers.
Clearwire is engaged in damage control over our recent report
that the company is inconsistently kicking people off of their network for excessive use -- despite advertising an unlimited service and
throttling users to 250 kbps. Numerous users have complained that they were recently told they could no longer be Clearwire customers.
Several users say that Clearwire is terminating their accounts for excessive usage, despite the fact they've used only around 5 GB, and pay for unlimited accounts. Several
different Twitter users
say they were surprised to receive the notices this week, informing them that they would no longer be wanted as customers.
After obtaining $734 million in its latest stock offering, a new regulatory filing by Clearwire
notes the company has $1.11 billion in available cash and short-term investments as of the end of last year. Clearwire claims the company doesn't expect positive cash flow from their operations this year and will still need to raise "substantial additional capital" to continue funding business beyond the next twelve months. The company's cable industry partners have all shifted to Verizon
, though Clearwire should have help from the 35 or so wholesale partners now-likely-dead LightSquared
will leave standing at the altar. Last week however Clearwire stated their new LTE network won't be up and running until June 2013
Speaking on the company's fourth quarter conference call, Clearwire yesterday announced that they plan to switch on their first LTE-capable towers in June. "To satisfy the conditions for Sprint's LTE commitment, we are targeting at least the first 5,000 of these LTE sites to be on air by June of 2013, with a slightly longer-term objective of overlaying a total of approximately 8,000 sites," said CEO Erik Prusch on the call (full transcript here
). Clearwire expects to begin the buildout near the end of the first quarter, though it's far too early for prices and device specifics. Prusch did say the company was on the hunt for more wholesale arrangements and will look to have plenty of opportunities with the collapse of LightSquared
Not too surprisingly, a Comcast insider tells Broadband Reports that the company will be phasing out their Comcast "Internet2Go" wireless broadband service over the next six months. The move comes on the heel of a new Comcast deal with Verizon to bundle Verizon LTE services, with Comcast saying they'll start offering the service in four markets early next year. story continues..
Just as concerns were mounting that Clearwire was going to default on an interest payment due today
, Sprint today announced they'd be saving the struggling wireless operator's bacon. According to the official press statement
, the new deal is worth up to $1.6 billion over the next four years, including payments for WiMAX services, possible pre-payments for LTE services and potential equity investments.
Confirming some rumblings that we talked about yesterday
, Clearwire has announced a significant shake up to the company's wireless brodband pricing and plans. Clearwire spokesman Mike DiGioia tells Broadband Reports that starting today, Clearwire is launching a family of new service plans for new customers, after testing the plans in Atlanta and Milledgeville, Georgia earlier this year.
Clearwire needs money to build out their network and migrate to LTE. Dish has freshly-acquired spectrum
and wants to get into the wireless business.
From the "well that's not terribly surprising department," Bloomberg
reports that Sprint and several major cable companies are in talks to acquire struggling Clearwire. Talks so far have involved all of Clearwire's cable investment partners including Cablevision, Cox , Comcast, Time Warner Cable and Bright House -- and the deal could involve simply providing additional funding or a total buyout, according to Bloomberg's
sources. Investors are growing increasingly nervous that Clearwire not only won't be able to raise enough cash to both function and continue their network build out, but that they won't be able to raise enough cash to make their promised switch to LTE technology -- a switch Sprint is also expected to announce later this year. Sprint has been preparing for a Clearwire fiscal implosion for some time, in June cutting its voting stake to 49.8 percent from 53.7 percent to limit financial liability.
For some time, Clearwire has been conducting tests of various LTE implementations, at one point calling the test results (with speeds up to 120 Mbps) "mind blowing
." As such, it's not too surprising to see Clearwire today finally make their love of LTE official, issuing a press statement
confirming that the company will be adding "LTE Advanced-ready" technology to its 4G network. The company says they'll initially be running LTE Time Division Duplex (TDD) LTE and Mobile WiMax services simultaneously.
Clearwire today announced
that they've struck a seven year deal with Ericsson putting the company in charging of the "day-to-day operations of the Clearwire 4G network." According to Clearwire, approximately 700 of Clearwire's 3,600 employees will technically become Ericsson employees "in locations around the United States before the middle of this year." Ericsson already manages Sprint's network, bringing Sprint and Clearwire one step closer to the unified company
many feel is inevitable.
In July of last year, Best Buy jumped into the MVNO business, selling wireless service under the brand name Best Buy Connect
. That service, powered by Sprint's network, had some fairly standard pricing
-- though users could net discounts on a number of netbooks and other hardware.
Speaking at the CTIA trade show about LTE, Clearwire CTO John Saw tells Light Reading in a video intereview
that their LTE trials are seeing "mind blowing" results -- and that the trials have already demonstrated "60-90 Mbps of user data rate while you're driving and fifty miles an hour." You'll recall that Broadband Reports recently learned
that Clearwire executives (the ones that haven't recently resigned, anyway
) will be attending a test in April outside of Scottsdale, Arizona where the company will put different LTE technologies from various vendors (including TD-LTE and FD-LTE) through final paces. Moving past trials, Clearwire will need to secure additional funding to run (at least initially) a dual WiMax LTE network -- a move that could culminate in Sprint acquiring Clearwire outright
Yesterday we exclusively reported
that Lightsquared would be ditching Nokia for their LTE network build, instead piggybacking on Sprint's base station overhaul being conducted by Alcatel-Lucent, Ericcson and Samsung. Speaking at the Deutsche Bank Media and Telecom Conference today (audio here
), Sprint CEO Dan Hesse reiterated Sprint's dedication to Clearwire and WiMax, despite numerous signs the company is ready to go the LTE route, alone if necessary.
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