Sprints Wants T-Mobile Investment In Clearwire Says Analyst

It’s been a little over 60 days since our last Clearwire/Sprint/T-Mobile article and that is just far to long! Really, I’m kidding but Jason Armstrong, analyst for Goldman, Sachs & Co. threw gas on the fire yet again. Stating, “Sprint indicated they have encouraged a wholesale deal,” with T-Mobile and then going even further by stating, “Sprint would support a T-Mobile equity infusion into Clearwire.”

With T-Mobile looking to bulk up HSPA+ in the coming years, one might wonder just what would encourage a deal at this point with Clearwire. With Clearwire stating that they might not have enough funding to continue operations we understand their desire for investors like T-Mobile, but what does T-Mobile gain? I love the idea of T-Mobile having more spectrum, but diving into Wimax isn’t something I could support. While T-Mobile has been largely silent of the subject of a Wimax or LTE based future, LTE seems to be largely accepted as the better solution over Wimax. While Clearwire has said they would explore LTE as a possibility, until such a time I don’t see why T-Mobile should spend on an investment of Clearwire.

T-Mobile will ultimately need to decide on a future beyond HSPA+ but I’m not sure an investment in Clearwire is the right answer.

BusinessWeek

Tags: , , ,

  • Anonymous

    Clear has given every indication that it plans to abandon WiMax for some form of LTE. In that regard, its interests and T-mo’s converge.

    • Anonymous

      When you note that I must agree.

      • Justme

        If comes to T-Mobile customers having to pay an extra $10 a month on top of our normal bills I would say stick with HSPA+

        • Anonymous

          I fully agree

        • Anonymous

          I fully agree

    • Anonymous

      T-mobile doesn’t want a LTE or WiMax that perpetuates T-mobile’s existing issues, i.e. spectrum wall penetration. If you think T-mobile’s in home coverage is poor, give Clearwire’s spectrum a shot and you will know a new low. I don’t think that a LTE T-mobile wants to stick with.

      Another thought: What is the process for switching from WiMax to LTE for a spectrum? I doubt it’s as simple as throwing a cap on a tower.

      • Anonymous

        1) There isn’t a lot of good spectrum out there that is not owned by a major carrier. Clearwire is one of the best opportunities for TMo to buy spectrum.

        2) Clearwire has maintained for some time that they built their network with the ability to run either WiMAX or LTE in mind.

        • http://pharaohtechblog.blogspot.com/ Conan Kudo (ニール・ゴンパ)

          As far as I’m aware, Clear also controls the spectrum assets of SprintCo, which means they also own a good chunk of AWS spectrum as well. Technically, Verizon and AT&T also own some AWS spectrum, but T-Mobile is the only one to acquire nationwide AWS spectrum. I believe Clear also owns some of the 700MHz spectrum as well, which would be highly desirable for T-Mobile to acquire, since it would mean that hardware would be easier to acquire for a future LTE network. On the other hand, T-Mobile has always tried to maintain some form of spectrum compatibility with Europe, since Deutsche Telekom owns T-Mobile, and wants their phones to work on all the T-Mobile networks worldwide. This may mean that the 2.6GHz band that Europe and Asia plan to use for LTE will be the band that T-Mobile USA picks for LTE when they prepare to roll it out.

    • Anonymous

      T-mobile doesn’t want a LTE or WiMax that perpetuates T-mobile’s existing issues, i.e. spectrum wall penetration. If you think T-mobile’s in home coverage is poor, give Clearwire’s spectrum a shot and you will know a new low. I don’t think that a LTE T-mobile wants to stick with.

      Another thought: What is the process for switching from WiMax to LTE for a spectrum? I doubt it’s as simple as throwing a cap on a tower.

    • Tortionist

      not only that, but T-Mobile can dictate a sweet arrangement for themselves and get a sweet deal, especially if they hold out longer as Sprint gets more desperate.

  • Girth Brooks

    Well then why invest in a company that already appears to be going out of business due to lack of funding, is going to abandon their current network and change to WiMax (which they haven’t done, who knows if they would be successful at it, or if they have the money), and also is working already first hand with a competitor. I think T-Mobile is totally comfortable passing here. Clearwire is desperate and T-Mobile has time to find a better solution.

  • Danny

    I don’t like the idea of T-Mo leasing or buying capacity. I’d rather them purchase a full 40 GHz of spectrum from Clear and start the groundwork for a LTE Advanced Network by 2012. It would be a challenge being that T-Mobile will have to create a lot of infill sites to make their network denser because of the higher frequency but it can be done if they are serious about expanding and growing their US subsidiary.

    In the meantime they can continue to bulk up their HSPA + network to include 42 Mbps speeds in 2011.

    • Anonymous

      I think you’re missing the point. The discussion is about an EQUITY investment. That means that TMo would become an owner of Clearwire. Since Sprint no longer controls over 50% of Clearwire it is possible that TMo could become the majority owner of Clearwire. Sprint wouldn’t want this but Sprint doesn’t have the money to fund Clearwire and can’t afford for it to go under so they are in a bad spot from a negotiating position.

  • Manusferrera

    they should only do this if clear switches to LTE. Sprint made a mistake i think they went with Wimax just so they could be the first 4g without really thinking about the future.

    • Anonymous

      Sprint didn’t go wimax that was clearwire towers that went WiMax from my understanding, being that the 4G towers sprint uses are clearwire towers.

      • Anonymous

        Actually historically Clearwire was formed at Sprint’s impetus exactly to deploy WiMAX for Sprint.

  • Anonymous

    People who want to see T-Mobile invest into LTE have not enjoyed the full glory of their HSPA+ Network. Just had my HSPA+ turned on bout 2 weeks ago. Using my Nexus One I am enjoying between 3.7 to over 6.5 mg on the download and my upload speeds stay around 1.4 mg. They get faster daily, these speeds are in the midle of the day not at night. They don’t slow down either. My Nexus One smokes it is so fast. HSPA+ is fantastic, my entire town enjoys this speed, live in a suburb of Boston and loving it.
    THANK YOU T-MOBILE.
    PS we don’t have to pay extra 10 bucks a month for these killer speeds.

    • http://www.facebook.com/MatthewSki Matthew Kalinowski

      you think thats fast get an hspa+ phone my mytouch 4g is getting 8-10 down and i love not paying an extra $10 for it

    • Guttus

      From Providence to Boston HSPA+ is amazing! My boss pays the sprint fee on his EVO and gets crap coverage in the heart of Boston. Not paying the extra fee and getting amazing HSPA+ service on my Mytouch 4g is great

    • Guttus

      From Providence to Boston HSPA+ is amazing! My boss pays the sprint fee on his EVO and gets crap coverage in the heart of Boston. Not paying the extra fee and getting amazing HSPA+ service on my Mytouch 4g is great

  • Anonymous

    T-mobile can get by just fine without Sprint. I would let them sink. Why bail out your biggest competitor? I imagine the marginal gain of letting Clearwire fail would be greater than the marginal gain from a Clearwire/T-Mobile partnership.

  • http://pharaohtechblog.blogspot.com/ Conan Kudo (ニール・ゴンパ)

    Unless T-Mobile were to plan to use their existing AWS spectrum for LTE and shut down their UMTS network, they will probably need Clear simply for the massive amounts of spectrum that they own to set up an LTE network. If T-Mobile were to acquire a good portion of the assets of Clear, they’d have enough spectrum to set up an LTE network alongside their HSPA+ network.

  • J-Hop2o6

    Tmo needs to stay away from Clears high frequency (2500) since its sucks at building penetration.. hopefully the FCC frees up some spectrum that has preddy good building penetration.

    • Anonymous

      I think this is why T-Mobile introduced wifi calling

    • Uansari1

      Great point… this is the current problem with T-mobile’s operating frequency band. While AT&T users have network connectivity inside buildings, we lose signal.

      • Anonymous

        I have found this to be vice versa. I get great connectivity inside buildings.

        • 4G OR NOT TO 4G

          JBrowne1012, I am with you, this is the best building penetration that I have ever had, since coming to T-Mobile. It brings me such joy when I am sitting with those Iphone geeks and they can’t get signal and I can make calls and text…surfing the internet not so good at these locations, but still better then AT&T

  • http://www.facebook.com/MatthewSki Matthew Kalinowski

    that would be stupid wimax is slower then hspa+ and i would rater see lte then wicrap

    • crap4g

      Thank goodness you are not part of IEEE or ITU!

      • blah

        lol

      • http://www.facebook.com/MatthewSki Matthew Kalinowski

        but really what would you rather have wimax which would add an extra $10 a month or for t-mo to make hspa+ really fast then when lte-a comes out have an even faster 4g with hspa+ to fall back on t-mo likes to be the cheapest but if they use clear/sprint wimax (which is slower then hspa+ and has poor coverage) then you would have to pay an extra $10 and wimax isn’t every where yet hspa+ hspa and hsdpa covers a lot of America.

  • VaJJ

    Btw….you misspelled too in the very first sentence.

  • blah

    Sprint wants help with its WiMAX network and doesnt want to be alone in WiMAX. Tmo has an opportunity to take over its network and clients. Its up to tmo to determine if its worth it.

  • Anonymous

    From a competition perspective does T-Mobile really have any good reason to invest in Clearwire/Sprint especially when Sprint wants to complain about true 4G when they alone aren’t? Why should any carrier help out Clearwire/Sprint? where is tmo’s benefit?

    • Anonymous

      The TMo interest in Clearwire is all about 2 things:
      Spectrum and Towers.
      TMo has no interest in WiMAX. The whole reason that Clearwire is testing LTE is that the only way any investor will be interested in them is as a way to deploy LTE.

      Sprint is ultimately going to regret going WiMAX because they will be one of the few carriers in the developed world with a significant WiMAX deployment. WiMAX will be the straw that finally breaks Sprint’s back. Sad but true.

  • Yepper

    What does T-mobile have to gain from this deal? Ummmm….how bout CUSTOMERS? When’s the last time we actually netted a customer? Seriously.

  • http://www.facebook.com/joseph.singer Joseph Singer

    Pedant mode here. Please look out for your to and too use K? You really otta know better.

    Thanks!

    • Anonymous

      This is a blog. People aren’t here to receive grammar lessons. Respect your community.

    • Anonymous

      This is a blog. People aren’t here to receive grammar lessons. Respect your community.

    • http://twitter.com/dustin_aka_D Dustin Allen

      K is a letter not a word. While we are speaking of things which are not words, otta is not an actual word. You do know that right? You also probably should have picked ‘usage’ over ‘use’. Please refrain from calling others black, when you’re a pot.

      Thanks!

  • 4G OR NOT TO 4G

    ok this is very confusion to me. Clearwire is suing Sprint for lack of payment, yet Sprint is the majority owner in Clearwire, then Sprint wants to bring T-Mo into the mix…Am I missing something here???

  • http://twitter.com/Matthewheuer Matthew Heuer

    I personally think that if T-Mobile is going to acquire and merge it should be with companies like US Cellular and other GSM carriers i.e. the ones in the NW of the U.S. If TMo could get them and their spectrum it would open up quite a bit, not to mention dramatically increase the customer base.

  • http://twitter.com/Matthewheuer Matthew Heuer

    I personally think that if T-Mobile is going to acquire and merge it should be with companies like US Cellular and other GSM carriers i.e. the ones in the NW of the U.S. If TMo could get them and their spectrum it would open up quite a bit, not to mention dramatically increase the customer base.

    • Anonymous

      TMo doesn’t want to deal with the mess of acquiring another carrier. Look at Sprint for an example of why NOT to do that. What they need is Spectrum and Towers and as little of everything else as possible. Clearwire fits the bill nicely.

    • Anonymous

      TMo doesn’t want to deal with the mess of acquiring another carrier. Look at Sprint for an example of why NOT to do that. What they need is Spectrum and Towers and as little of everything else as possible. Clearwire fits the bill nicely.

      • JP

        Look what happened with T-Mob, ans SunCom in the Carolinas, no issues there aside from the usual teething issues, but none after that, and SunCom, was one of T-Mob’s roaming partners, so shows you it was a wise decision buying SunCom

  • http://twitter.com/Matthewheuer Matthew Heuer

    sorry about this post. cant figure out how to remove it.

  • http://twitter.com/Matthewheuer Matthew Heuer

    sorry about this post. cant figure out how to remove it.

  • Bobert

    Does david spend the day copying other articles?

    • http://tmonews.com David

      Wow, the amount of comebacks I could use here are so numerous its almost not fair. Apparently I do because you know, its unheard of for blogs to re-report stories printed on other news sources. I guess that’s what I’ve been doing wrong this whole time.

      You don’t like the news reported here, don’t read.

    • http://tmonews.com David

      Wow, the amount of comebacks I could use here are so numerous its almost not fair. Apparently I do because you know, its unheard of for blogs to re-report stories printed on other news sources. I guess that’s what I’ve been doing wrong this whole time.

      You don’t like the news reported here, don’t read.

  • mtnman

    T-Mobile is going to switch over to LTE sometime in the future (it has to). HSPA+ is great and all, but LTE is named Long Term Evolution for a reason. T-Moblie will continue to build up it’s HSPA+ speeds while also investing in LTE tech. HSPA+ is more of a software update than a true build. Once Tmo gets it’s LTE network up and running, I don’t think that Tmo customers will really notice the differance once the switch is done.

  • Don’t Hate

    Here is something to stir up the pot, did you know that Clear is currently doing a test build out of LTE to determine if and how they could use it. So it only makes sense that we Tmo would invest in them for their spectrum and also because the ITU just certified LTE Advanced a true 4G and they are locking up the specs now so companies can start developing their products now. Which will again put us at the top of the DATA Network game in the next few years and this one is going to be easier to use along side 3G voice so no handoff issues like Verizon is currently having with their LTE. Also with HSPA++ coming next year we will be running speeds up to 42 MBPS i the near future so look out the rest of the industry we are here to play and stay!!!!!!

  • Anonymous

    Oh hellz no! T-Mobile needs to stick with HSPA+, then eventually make a move to LTE or from what I understand, LTE-a. No need to invest in WiMAX when we have HSPA+ that is more superior. If the investment is for a future outlook into some kinds of LTE spectrum then that’s cool…otherwise T-Mobile will be going backwards, not forward if they decide on some Clearwire contract without any good LTE base.

  • Anonymous

    This is like that Simpson’s episode where Homer dreams he is in a city made entirely of chocolate. He then sees a chocolate store in the city made of chocolate and buys some chocolate. Homer didn’t need to buy chocolate, he already had plenty of it available.

    T-Mobile doesn’t need to buy bad spectrum. It has plenty of that already.

  • Grammatica di Polizia

    Sprint? Yes, it has it share of problems. I just noticed this is e-mail that was in my spam folder:

    “4G Cellphone, You May Be Interested in a Class Action Lawsuit
    ——————————————————————————–

    A class action lawsuit was filed alleging that Sprint customers that purchased the EVO 4G or EPIC 4G cellphones are being charged a $10 monthly “Premium Data Add-On” fee, despite the fact that these customers had already paid for unlimited data usage under their existing Sprint calling plans.

    Law Offices of xxxxx x. xxxxxx xxxxxx.com, is investigating claims that these charges may be improper.

    If you purchased a Sprint EVO 4G or EPIC 4G cellphone, we would like to hear from you so we can investigate whether you incurred this charge, how many customers have been affected, and whether there may be valid legal claims for a refund. Please contact us by responding to this email or by calling us directly at (646) xxx.xxxx.

    About Law Offices of xxxxx x. xxxxxx

    xxxxx x. xxxxxx has represented plaintiffs in class action lawsuits against Sprint and other wireless carriers since 2002. Many of these cases are discussed in detail at http://www.xxxxxx.com

  • Drew

    Don’t do it T-Mo… Sprint’s just trying to dump it (for anybody that’ll take it) and switch spectrum with AT&T.

  • http://twitter.com/iFlossHIC iFloss™

    They are still developing the 4G technologies to surpass the standard recently set. I believe there will be something that will beat out LTE and if not a version of LTE that isn’t LTE Advanced that will be what HSPA+ is to HSPA

    I know t-mobile will choose the most kick ass service even if they’re 2 years late to do it (which is how I’m calculating it. 2012~2013 will be when T-Mo begins 4G development.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000094857239 Matt Miller

    DT and S merge and add LTE to the CLWR towers inexpensively.

  • Jtortiz Jo

    all of you are wrong Sprint is doing better then anybody else, and t-mobile is the one looking for help, not Sprint.

  • Jtortiz Jo

    all of you are wrong Sprint is doing better then anybody else, and t-mobile is the one looking for help, not Sprint.