Sprint and Clearwire Forge New WiMax, LTE Agreement
Sprint and Clearwire today announced a new agreement that sees Sprint providing additional funding to Clearwire and the two companies forging a clearer path for the future of their 4G networks. Sprint will pay Clearwire a total of $926 million for unlimited access to its WiMax network through 2012 and 2013. Clearwire has agreed to operate its WiMax network at least to 2015. Sprint will continue to sell WiMax handsets until the end of 2012, and will support those devices until the end of their two-year contracts. The deal also gives Sprint the flexibility to offer its WiMax access on a wholesale basis to other providers. Sprint will pay Clearwire up to $350 million in a series of prepayments over a period of up to two years for LTE capacity if Clearwire achieves certain build-out targets and network specifications by June 2013. Both companies will begin to ramp up support for the TDD-LTE ecosystem and plan to introduce the first LTE products (laptops cards and smartphones) in 2013. The companies have also come to terms of additional equity payments to be made by Sprint. Last, Clearwire agreed to may the $237 million debt payment that is due today.