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Sprint, Weighing the 4G Future, Eyes T-Mobile for Help

Article Comments  34  

Aug 31, 2010, 7:50 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

According to sources cited by the Wall Street Journal, Sprint's board of directors is trying to decide the best course of action for its future with respect to their WiMax network. Sprint and Clearwire are together building out a nationwide WiMax 4G network. Sprint owns 54% of Clearwire. Clearwire, however, doesn't have the funding available to complete its portion of the network buildout. Sprint's dilemma is to decide whether or not to come up with the funding itself, or seek outside help. The Journal's sources have indicated that at least some of the members of Sprint's board are considering the idea of allowing T-Mobile USA (owned by Germany's Deutsche Telekom) to invest in Clearwire and help fund the rest of the 4G WiMax network. The Journal says that some of Sprint's board members are adamantly opposed to the idea of seeking help from a competitor. T-Mobile has problems of its own. T-Mobile has a growing HSPA+ footprint across the U.S., and expects to have 200 million Americans covered by the end of the year. However, T-Mobile has no 4G strategy. It doesn't own the spectrum necessary to build out a Long Term Evolution (LTE) 4G network of its own. Both Sprint and Deutsche Telekom have made overtures before about finding ways to help one another, but the matter has become more urgent, reports the Journal, as Clearwire will need more cash by the end of 2010. On top of that, both Sprint and Clearwire have made public statements that put the future of WiMax as their 4G networking technology to question. Management of both companies have indicated that they are open to the idea of potentially switching from WiMax to LTE. Neither Sprint, Clearwire, nor T-Mobile has confirmed the Journal's story.



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flip mode

Sep 1, 2010, 3:22 PM

Well here's what should happen...

T-Mobile becomes owner of Sprint and manages both networks. With T-Mobile's faily decent customer service reputation it should go rough at first possibly but will smooth on out.
"T-Mobile's fairly decent customer service reputation"
not at all what im hearing from disgruntled tmo subs lately =)

Aug 31, 2010, 8:19 PM


"However, T-Mobile has no 4G strategy."

Didn't PS have a big story about how the upgraded tmo network is faster than sprint's 4g?

And Sprint's 4g stands for 4th generation, not 4G speeds....
HSPA+ is not 4G. It sure is fast, and it might be faster (right now) than Sprint's WiMax, but it is not 4th Generation as defined by the 3GPP2.

T-Mobile has publicly stated that it wants to deploy LTE, but it hasn't said if, how, or when it will do...
DE 2 Philly

Aug 31, 2010, 9:01 PM

$print? $

With Sprint having the first quarter in 3 years grossing more gains than losses; and the still surplus in moneys incoming.. (no sprint isnt in debt before everyone goes ranting).. I would think they would be able to afford more investments into their 4G network?

Does this hint toward another reason for a merger?
Not sure but time will tell, but there are other options, TMO/TD investing into Clear and either continuing with wimax or the smarter course dump it and go LTE and or doing what the Canadian cdma carriers do, use hspa+ as their 3g alternative. Which ...

Sep 1, 2010, 12:23 AM

...and im not helping the issue

see, after realizing im right now on the florida space coast and not having 4g like daytona beach and orlando and ft lauderdale...

im protesting a data war by streaming slingbox on my phone and computer (via mobile hotspot) by doing 8 gigs of data in 4 days. i want 4g because i dont feel like paying brighthouse for something i already have in PA
Keep it up, Jack. Keep giving Clear and Sprint an incentive to roll out tiered data like the rest of the world will.

You're not doing yourself (or any other data hog) any favors by running up your service providers operating costs for no reason ot...

Aug 31, 2010, 9:38 PM

Stay the Course

If Clear cannot come up with its share of the funding then Sprint should buy them out and stay the course...alone. Providing a lifeline for a competitor is ridiculous.
Another good point, there is nothing wrong with a merger, or reselling spectrum to TMO. Nothing to be gained if the two smaller national carriers fight each other over the future. It will just play right into the hands of AT&T and VZW.

Sep 1, 2010, 12:44 AM

Please Don't Do It Sprint

You passed on merging with Alltel, which would have significantly increased your footprint. Then you merged with Nextel which not only duplicated your existing foot print but caused you to spend billions settling lawsuits and trying to make two incompatible technologies work together...before coming to the grips with the definition of incompatible. Now...I'm not saying that Wi-Max and LTE cannot work together...I'm just saying that Sprint should not be involved with anymore merging of technologies especially when T-Mobile's footprint will not help.
Azeron said:
You passed on merging with Alltel, which would have significantly increased your footprint. Then you merged with Nextel which not only duplicated your existing foot print but caused you to spend billions settling laws
This says nothing about a merger. This is about getting someone to invest in Clearwire to fund the buildout. They would be partners in Clearwire, not a merged company.

Sep 1, 2010, 1:25 AM

It's pretty clear--

--somehow, some way, Sprint and Tmobile need each other.

Aug 31, 2010, 11:35 PM

Sprint + T-mo

If they can get unified on a 4G strategy, they might be able to pull off a merger 5-7 years down the road and provide better competition against AT&T and Verizon.

Wouldn't that be interesting?
It would simply be redundant.
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