Sprint and Clearwire Ink a New Deal, LightSquared Still Looms as an Option for Switch from WiMAX to LTE


You have to have some sense of pity for Sprint, the soon-to-be sole underdog in the United States wireless industry currently suffering through a behind-the-scenes 4G identity crisis. The company has no plans to axe WiMAX anytime soon — a new deal penned with Clearwire promises that much. The agreement has Sprint paying out at least $1 billion dollars for the use of Clearwire’s 4G WiMAX network over the next two years. The bill is split up between a $175 million pre-payment, $300 million minimum commitment for this year, and at least $550 million in 2012. As part of the deal, both companies will have the right to sell off their 3G and 4G services to other partners.

Those two years leave ample time for Sprint to flesh out plans with LightSquared, the 4G LTE wholesaler the carrier has reportedly been in talks with behind closed doors. A new WSJ report has it that Sprint may soon sign a mutually beneficial deal with LightSquared that gives the startup wireless wholesaler access to Sprint’s network and spectrum with Sprint receiving a cash payout and access to LightSquared’s 4G LTE services. The expanded 4G footprint that would result form such a deal could allow for Sprint to cut back on roaming agreements with competitors — namely Verizon.

If Sprint does go the way of LTE, all major US carriers would deploy the wireless technology as their next generation network (assuming the AT&T/T-Mobile deal is approved).

[via CNET]

Kevin Krause
Pretty soon you'll know a lot about Kevin because his biography will actually be filled in!

Meizu Wants in on the US Market with Plans to Open California Office

Previous article

Evernote for Android Gets a ‘Huge’ Update to Version 3.0

Next article

You may also like


  1. $1b is a generous offer considering their last quarter’s revenue was $8m. net loss aside, people are singling out sprint going lte like mike lazaridis on security. sprint has a longterm commitment to clearwire. sure, a company should have option a, b, c, but project vision is their current initiative.

  2. +1 for LTE
    -1 for WiMAX

    I still have high hopes for Sprint and the EVO 3D

  3. Continuing with wimax is fine for today and down the road for the next couple of years. But usage of LTE would be great a few years from now either way us on sprint will ride the long wave with our carrier of choice.

    1. Good work Richard

  4. Great. So now we’ll see even more companies selling WiCrap.

    1. I use Wimax and it’s pretty damn fast. I don’t know why people complain about it.

      1. What speeds? In my experience that reception is horrid.

        1. Completely depends on your area. We pull 9.5Mbps down and 1.0Mbps up at our offices… Around town we are in the 7+ range down… (Monroe, WA area)

  5. i feel like Sprint is becoming the BiLo of the grocery chain market (compared to Harris Teeter or Bloom). it’s got some really nice deals but it’s not much to look at & you can never find one.

  6. Maybe Clear can actually get something done now.

  7. ATT&T is not going to buy T-mobile. No way this is going to be allowed.

    1. Either way, AT&T and T-Mo already have a back door deal for cash for network access. It’s about the same deal as AT&T purchasing them as a whole…

  8. Clear sucks balls. I was hoping Sprint would dump them, but that obviously is not possible in the short term. As I suspected, Clear will be around at least until 2015

  9. One question and someone please answer it. Will sprint continue to roll out wimax to new cities? San diego still has no wimax.

  10. One question and someone please answer it. Will sprint continue to roll out wimax to new cities? San diego still has no wimax.

  11. Why LightSquared? Why not use their own spectrum? Nextel services are being shut down. Hello nationwide 800 mhz spectrum… and they already have near-nationwide coverage in AWS… they should just spin Clear off… eventually when they liquidate they can buy their 2.6 ghz spectrum back at firesale prices if they were so inclined.

    1. Sprint only has 14mhz of spectrum at 800mhz, so there’s just not enough spectrum there. Yeah, they could use 10mhz for 4G, but then there isn’t enough to move CDMA there with PTT and iDEN, which they need to do so current handsets don’t become obsolete.

      From my understanding, Sprint will move CDMA to 800mhz, where iDen is currently sitting. When the move happens it’ll be 1X Advanced w/PTT. They will have to keep iDen there until they can get all the Nextel users migrated to CDMA w/PTT. Once iDen is gone, I think they will have either 9 or 10mhz of spectrum at 800 and their current 1900mhz band, where CDMA sits, will be freed up.

      I think once they get all that straightened out, which will take a few years, they’ll probably have TDD-LTE using parts of their 800mhz and 1900mhz bands they own and possibly use Lightsquare’s 1500mhz too. The 2.5ghz, which Clearwire owns, might be used too, but I have a feeling that will be a last resort thing because WiMax will live on but mostly regulated older phones that people haven’t upgraded and for wireless internet to homes and businesses.

      Then again, who really knows what will happen with Sprint??? It seems like they really don’t know what they are doing and just keep throwing ideas at the wall to see what sticks!

      1. Not to sound silly, but this fits perfectly with Sprint’s plan to dismantle their IDEN networks by the end of 2012 and Clear’s plan to follow WiMAX with LTE (which has already tested in Phoenix with great results on their existing towers) in the next few years.

        Sprint has plenty of bandwidth and with IDEN going away, PTT going to CDMA, and Clear rolling their network to LTE soon, Sprint won’t need LightSquared or anyone else to ride the LTE wave. Clear will do the leg work with the money that Sprint has guaranteed.

        Sprint will be going through some growing pains in the next few months as the AT&T and T-Mobile deals goes through (even if it doesn’t, they will agree in principal to a roaming agreement for cash) and they quickly fall to #4. They need something to stop the bleeding, increase the cash flow, and win customers over to them before LTE gets a stronger foot hold. WiMAX was that option, it works well (outdoors) and for most phones, 5-6Mbps is more than a fast enough data connection.

        Hopefully this will all work out well for all the carriers, but unless Clear can fix their customer service issues – maybe allow some streaming and gaming without throttling – I doubt the Clear network will be the way to go long term.

  12. CLEARWIRE is not to be confused with CLEAR. Please get your facts straight before commenting.

    1. It’s the same company.

    2. Man I bet it sucks to realize you opened your mouth and made yourself look stupid with that one…

      To quote you “Please get your facts straight before commenting.”

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

More in News