T-Mobile USA Tapping Clearwire For High Speed Data?


clearwireAs some carriers make their move towards 4G, T-Mobile USA is losing some customers for their inability to even provide 3G access, something the carrier is looking to fix for their next generation network.  Rumor has it that T-Mobile is working on a join venture opportunity with Clearwire to support their 4G data network.

Two pretty interesting facts:

  • T-Mobile USA and Clearwire have headquarters right next to eachother
  • Clearwire is majority owned by Sprint

The United States mobile market is fierce right now, with Verizon and AT&T leading the way and both Sprint and T-Mobile struggling a little bit. T-Mobile essentially “purchasing” 4G data from Sprint would give their competitors a nice insurance policy.

There have also been reports of T-Mobile’s parent company buying Sprint or even spinning of T-Mobile USA or selling it. Doesn’t seem likely according to TMO CEO:

“What you never want to do is take one company that is going through challenges and take another company going through challenges.”

I guess somebody learned something from Sprint Nextel.

[Via RWW]

Rob Jackson
I'm an Android and Tech lover, but first and foremost I consider myself a creative thinker and entrepreneurial spirit with a passion for ideas of all sizes. I'm a sports lover who cheers for the Orange (College), Ravens (NFL), (Orioles), and Yankees (long story). I live in Baltimore and wear it on my sleeve, with an Under Armour logo. I also love traveling... where do you want to go?

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  1. Sprint struggling…………HAHA, maybe you should actually research the network before putting out nonsense. Sprints network is one of the best out. Performance and Reliability wise, which is all anyone cares about.

  2. For consumers yes, but whether a company stays in business depends on the bottom line profits, which from what I hear Sprint is suffering.

  3. coming from Sprint their network is horrible… Very spotty, data is horrible…ugh I’m so glad to get away from them and HELLO BIG RED! :D

  4. Clear wire has to be one of the worst wireless internet providers on the planet. If T-mobile is seriously considering using Clear Wire’s network for their 4g network they can kiss a lot of customers good-bye. We’ll all go over to Verizon where droid should be.

  5. “Sprint’s network is one of the best out”??? Since there are only 4 major carriers in the US, they could all fall under that distinction.

  6. ontheFritz: Good one.

    As for Sprint: I was extremely happy when I used them in a city, but it was useless in rural areas. It seems that Sprint is like getting digital over-the-air…it is all or nothing. I would never get that middle ground where it would connnect, but we couldn’t hear each other like I do with some of the other carriers. (but that was like 10 years ago, so things may have changed)

  7. Ooops, I meant like digital TV over-the-air.

  8. Thats not good.
    I always thought they were a good network.

  9. Sprints past is its own worst enemy. They blew it years ago with their customer service coming in last place in the nation several years in a row. The way they handled the Palm Pre release was a complete disaster and now Verizon has to clean up the mess. Its all about big red and T-Mob. It really seems that both carriers are headed it the right direction. What about AT&T…? Do I really need to go there?

  10. swazedahustla –

    youre totally confused.

    Sprint might have great service and geat pricing but they have been homorraging MONEY and even worse customers since pretty much the time they merged with nextel.

    They can’t continue like that and remain in business.

    That is therefore their struggle.

  11. I have been on sprint for over 15years and have no problems. voice and data both are reliable. I also live a 4G market so am waiting anxiously for the supersonic.

    I had heard Sprint’s profits are lower but they have invested heavily into their infrastructure. I laugh at the Verizon vs. ATT commercials. I just plod along with full coverage and streaming data while on phone calls.

  12. So this story is completelly false unless t mobile is going buy out sprint controlling shares in clearwire and sprint isnt strugling its big red and t mobile who are cause those new unlittemed plans arent bring in any money and at&t lying on there commericals saying over 97% af americans have at&t when thats false

  13. ^^^ No you don’t. Data and Voice simultaneously is a fundamental limitation of CDMA… which Sprint also uses. EVDO is not being replaced by SVDO, which is to remedy the issue… you could always pretend tho.

  14. “coming from Sprint their network is horrible… Very spotty, data is horrible…ugh I’m so glad to get away from them and HELLO BIG RED! :D”

    This comment makes me laugh, since VZW and Sprint use the SAME TOWERS.

  15. how can I be getting email and text messages while I am talking on the phone? How can my phone go to web so I can look up stuff while I am talking?

    Maybe my phone is broken then?

  16. Never had a problem with Sprint. Been on their network over 10 years with no complaints. I think this is the year of the Sprint turnaround in the customer retention area. Each quarter they are showing improvement and by being the first 4G network go to live, they have about a 14 month lead over Verizon and AT&T. T-Moblie is going to have to do something to keep their customers too and if they don’t offer even 3G now, they will be lossing customers left and right. They have 3 options, build their own network (too expensive), go with LTE or go with Clearwire. I don’t blame them for looking at Clearwire because the big boys (Verizon and AT&T) will own LTE and try everything in the power to crush T-Moble.

  17. wow you sprint fanboise are stubborn.

    1) sprint has terrible business problems- not necessarily network problems- but they suck at business. They are losing prepaid subs left and right to Verizon and att.

    2) they do NOT use the same towers as Verizon 100% of the time. Since verizon and sprint are the 2 big CDMA carriers- they obviously roam on each others networks in manu (BUT NOT ALL) locations. You can even get free roaming plans on each but that doesn’t mean they both have the same coverage. There are many places where one or the other do NOT Roam on the other. If you are someplace where your carrier has ZERO coverage then likely they have made arrangements to roam. If your carrier thinks their coverage is “good enough” than they dont make arrangements to roam in that area and so you can NOT roam- there’s a reason the phones have PRL’s.

    3)- so what that sprint owns a (majority?) stake in clearwire? You’ve never been on an airplane with a ticket from one carrier but the paint was from another? Haven’t you ever ROAMED? sprint (and clearwire as they keep asking sprint for more money) is in a world of $$$ hurt, T-mobile has crap for 4G plans. If T-mobile goes wimax then sprint wont be the only carrier in the US not on LTE and they will have someone else to help build out a 4G wimax network. It MIGHT just be good business for both parties.

  18. wow treefq- you dont get it do you. NO CURRENT CDMA phone in the UScan be on a call and use CDMA data. Can’t do it period. You can be on the phone and use wifi. You can be on the phone and get a text (but NOT MMS) as text messages get transmitted on the voice network and not the data network. Google and wiki are your friends.

    It IS technically possible to do VOIP over EVDO REV A so voice and data could both play at the same time like gsm (eg. the iphone) phones do. But neither sprint not verizon did that. In fact verizon at least doesn’t even plan to use VOIP over LTE for to start on their new netwrok. They will still use LTE for data but the old voice calls will go on the old CDMA equipment for some time. Apparently the standards for VOIP on a cell phone are not yet clear so it could make a mess- at least that’s what i have seen written on the web.

  19. I’ve been with Sprint for a long time. They’ve had some ups and downs, but since they got a new CEO they’ve been a lot better. I do understand that in rural areas the coverage isn’t good, but I live in the city so I don’t worry about it. They’re plans are really good, and the store I go into the reps are nice, friendly and they bend over backwards to help…I hear some stores are just the opposite though.

    Sprints problem is it has a stigma. People are afraid to go to them because of the past and the people who leave them because they live in or go to rural areas often or they want a certain phone that Sprint doesn’t carry. The thing I don’t understand is AT&T can screw over tons of customers and get away with it but people aren’t willing to give Sprint a second chance.

    I heard the rumor that T-Mobiles parent company was looking to buy Sprint and It thought it was an interesting idea. The possibility of having a CDMA/GSM phone was very nice sounding. I figured it would be to much of a balancing act since Sprint has Nextel as well, so its probably for the best.

    T-Mobile using Clearwire, that comes to a shock to me because I heard a while back T-Mobile was going with LTE. Would using Clearwire help T-Mobile? Thats a hard question to answer because T-Mobile also has to work on their voice network. Unlike Sprint where they get great voice in cities but not in rural areas, T-Mobile has spotty coverage…at least in the Los Angeles area. If they can fix their voice coverage and get good WiMAX coverage, then sure it might help. But then again the 2 biggest companies are going with LTE and the two smallest companies going with WiMAX doesn’t look to good.

    In the end its all about reliability, performance and coverage…unless your AT&T then its just relying on the iphone.

  20. @ swazedahustla
    Struggling financially. If you read the news you would know that. Sprint projections for the next financial quarter are not good and their stock dropped. Read the news for once.

  21. Sprint has struggled through since 1982 when I joined the company. It was once owned by SP railroad- and was last to offer “universal service, meaning the ability to actually call the entire USA. Last to offer operator service when you dialed “o” + and although first to build a decent fiber network, had a 19 month product development cycle. Endless boring meetings, horrible billing, and nothing really changed at to corporate culture through GTE, Nextel, United Telecom,with respect to how things are billed, which drive product development, or delivered. Somehow Sprint never shook the old school culture – Too bad because they had the right network at the right time, from the mid eighties onward to dominate and consistently blew it. In fact, I just tried them again for a month and got the total runaround and was over billed when I cancelled.

  22. Why would someone buy a company with 20B dollars of debt. This in of itself would stop any one from buying S regardless of how good the network is.

  23. This is a bunk article as clearer is now clear and is owned by sprint. Get your facts straight .

  24. tsk tsk tsk. some facts folks:

    1) T mobile has a lot of money. It is not a publicly traded company but DT is, and they have a ton of cash because of overseas operations.

    2) t mobile is the only true wireless company. They have no wireline operations to really worry about.

    3) T mobile makes a ton off of data. Thats where the future is, the indicator is…my mom loves email to her phone. Absolutely loves is. She’s 55.

    I have Clear and absolutely love it. T mobile is looking to offset some of the backhaul costs. They are making a ton off of data and to lease usage in areas where its hard to build or reach where there is already significant infrastructure….thats easy. Clear is looking for money…it makes so much sense since th business is expanding so rapidly. if LTE is the rest of the country’s directio, then…..Clear says its a software change….

  25. I also have been with Sprint a long time. Many of the comments posted here are outdated. Sprint has improved much of its service. I drive for business from the Mexican Border up to the Central Valley and over into the desert counties. Of the 800 or so miles I drive (including a LOT of rural areas), there is exactly 45 miles where Sprint does not have coverage, but NEITHER DOES ANYONE ELSE, I can’t even roam in that area. I even get good EVDO coverage for my mobile broadband card throughout this route. Yes, Spint has had their business problems, but, I think the new CEO is making changes for the better and I think they will pull out of it. They have been behind the 8 ball in the past, but, I think they will be the first with a decent nationwide 4G network.

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