Clearwire Open To Deal With T-Mobile

The end of August was the last time we saw anything regarding T-Mobile merging/dealing/combining/partnering with another carrier or other entity.  Three weeks of no similar stories is far too long for us to go so here we are back again with another report that Clearwire is “open” to a relationship with T-Mobile in some capacity.  For Clearwire, the obvious hope is raising money possibly by selling off unneeded spectrum to a partner like T-Mobile.  However, since Sprint is the majority stakeholder in Clearwire,  the Clearwire board of directors is split over whether or not a Clearwire/T-Mobile relationship is a wise move.  It’s hard say just what exactly this deal could mean for any of the players involved and whether or not a deal like this could be a pre-cursor to some sort of larger Sprint/T-Mobile relationship but that’s just all speculation and rumors at this point.  Still, we’ll be keeping a close eye on these negotiations and hope to report back in another three weeks or so.

Fierce Wireless

Tags: ,

  • RCorn

    Hmmmmm…we’ll see how this shapes up…

  • Barry

    This is interesting but I hope they don’t merge cause that means the mailman returns… lol jk Yea I guess this is a wait and see what happens topic right now.

  • MJ

    Sprint will not allow it, unless T-Mobile buys out sprint completely

    • I think your right though T-mobiles parent company can easily do that.
      Sprint does need money but it seems like they dont want to merge.

  • TMOprophet

    Maybe this will be the initial stages of events that lead to a merger with sprint??

    • David Thomas

      I’m honestly hoping so. Their phones plus T-Mobile’s network and customer service (if they don’t remove the latter) would definitely make for one competitive US carrier.

    • sprint may have no choice but to sell out in the future. The question is what will happen to T-mobile if they buy sprint. Sprint may be nothing but a liability. On the other hand If T-mobile hets controle of sprints coverage then T-mobiles problems will be fixed because there biggist compaints is lack of coverage.

      • Anony Mouse

        You do realize that if T-Mobile buys sprint, the coverage will not merge. They use different tech in the cell towers. It would be like a sandwich shop buying a coffee shop and using the scones to make a turkey sandwich. Just doesnt work lol…..and T-Mobile actually has been rated as one of the top coverages in the nation, battling closely against Verizon for the number one spot.

      • asdf

        It’s more like a doughnut shop buying a meat shop and using bearclaws to make turkey sandwiches!

  • ThreeFourSeven

    I’m not that impressed with WiMax but if this is true. Atleast it put T-Mobile in the 4G conversation cause as of right now. If they don’t partner up with Clearwire. They’re going to be extremely late to the 4G game. This is also a good idea cause they can let Clearwire build the 4G network and T-Mobile can concentrate on their 3G coverage in the mean time.

    • Vibranter

      T-mobile is not late to the game. WiMax is not really 4G. Sprint is using the term for marketing. HSPA+ is plenty fast. 21mbps max now with 42mbps max next year is already ahead of Sprint’s “4G”. In fact, I’d say T-mobile is ahead of the curve. They just need to rollout more phones that support the faster speeds and continue to expand their coverage.

      • pimpstrong

        Thank you

      • swehes


      • /!\ ATTENTION /!\ LTE/WiMAX versus HSPA+ is more than SPEEDS /!\ ATTENTION /!\

        And it’s more than latency, which LTE/WiMAX offers much less of. It’s about the fact that CDMA was not the panacea it was meant to be. CDMA (and when I say CDMA, I mean any cdma-based technology: cdmaOne,cdma2000,wcdma(umts), and so on) has coverage/capacity issues that the OFDMA-based LTE does not. It’s about more flexible frequency usage. More predictable coverage. More scalability and capacity. And so on.

        Sure, T-mobile says that they’re fine for capacity on 3G and that may be true only because they’re a relatively small provider. Should their customer base double in size, 3G coverage holes would appear everywhere and fixing these isn’t always as easy as putting up new towers. First, to get a new tower nearly requires an act of Congress. Secondly, cdma-based systems are limited in how many towers they can use on the same frequency before something called “pilot pollution” causes a 3G area with many towers to be as if there were none.

        ATT had spare frequency to deploy WCDMA(UMTS) on in New York City, which was probably the only way to increase capacity seeing as they were unable to put up new cell sites because of the two aforementioned reasons. I personally testify that network throughput increased dramatically after they had put WCDMA(UMTS) on the repurposed GSM band. T-mobile doesn’t have that luxury and that’s where LTE/WiMAX come into play which allow for better coverage and capacity using the same spectrum.

        It’s too easy to say “LOL, we have 21Mbps and we’ll have 42Mbps later, we dont need WiMAX, LOL!” and be done with it. It’s deeper than that. It’s all good and well to get the last drops out of the used teabag, but don’t forget that if you want a stronger drink, you’ll need a stronger teabag. WCDMA(UMTS) will only do so much.

      • WXman

        Are you on meth? TMo is so late to the game that the game is already over. I’ve been all over the southeastern U.S. and the only place I even got 3G was in huge metro areas. 95% of the time I was stuck on miserable GPRS or EDGE at best and both made even using the ‘Net a PITA.

        Now I’m on Sprint and I have 3G EVERYWHERE. At my house or work I’m already getting 1.5 Meg download and on 4G in the big cities around here it’s way faster. I can FINALLY enjoy my phone everywhere I go.

        Not to mention I’ve had this phone less than 30 days and I’ve already gotten more OTA updates than TMobile pushed down to my Android handsets in 2 years. Yeah, Sprint knows how to support customers.

        HSPA doesn’t matter if it’s not everywhere. TMo’s network SUCKS overall and that is a fact that cannot be argued. Drive around the country a little and you’ll see what I mean. Thankfully, my EVO now has opened up Android the way it’s meant to be.

    • David Thomas

      What are you talking about? T-Mobile is running circles around Sprint’s wrongly-labeled “4G”, and LTE won’t be lit up until later this year, and even then, there won’t be LTE-enabled phones until next year. By that time, T-Mobile will probably be testing 42Mbps HSPA+ in test markets, which would be taken advantage of by already-existing HSPA+ phones (which will probably be plenty).

      And if you want to get technical, even LTE is not TRUE 4G, according to the specs. They’re more like 3.9G, so nobody is really in the 4G conversation yet.

      • ItsMichaelNotMike

        Well… I posted this yesterday, that confirms what you say in relation to Verizon. For emphasis, I edited the below with ALL CAPS.

        Bottom line: People should stop whining or complaining about T-Mobile):

        “NEW YORK — Comments from Verizon Communications Inc. CEO Ivan Seidenberg on Thursday …

        Verizon Wireless expects to fire up a network based on a “fourth-generation” wireless technology known as Long Term Evolution in ONLY 25 to 30 cities by the end of THIS YEAR.

        VERIZON WON’T have near-nationwide coverage UNTIL MAYBE THE END OF 2012 Seidenberg said.

        The network should allow for higher data speeds, BUT WON’T BE READY FOR PHONE CALLS.

        This year, Verizon expects to sell data modems (USB dongles) for the network, with phones coming next year.

        The first phones will probably use Verizon’s older “3G” network for phone calls, since calling over 4G hasn’t been standardized yet.

        (Lack of standardization of 4G) complicates the design of phones for the system.”

    • ItsMichaelNotMike

      Late? Not so. Didn’t you read Verizon’s CEO’s comments about the trouble it is having getting “4G” (LTE) up and running.

      He said they won’t have mostly nationwide coverage for almost 2.5 years!

      • FlyingRequin

        LTE is not 4G

        The full name is 3GPP Long Term Evolution.

        What does this mean? Every carrier out there is Lying. Everyone of them. Marketing people are have fun stealing your money — specially SPRINT (extra $10 for what??? 3.xG .. what does that mean?)

        So –I am actually quite happy with Tmobile also calling their network 4G. People on the streets don’t care — and they definitively don’t want to understand. Ignorance is bliss.

  • Patrick

    weird question…but with T-Mobile allowing UMA calling…and Clearwire being used over the 802.xx spectrum(wi-fi essentially) wouldn’t use of it be pretty……”simple” so to speak? The technology is built into the phones already(the ability to call over wifi) it SOUNDS like(and im no clearwire professional) it’d just be a matter of putting the correct module within t-mobile phones and it could be fairly seamless.

  • remixfa

    i get a headache every time people think a sprint/tmobile merger would be a good idea.

    they are not the same tech.. GSM for tmobile, and CDMA for sprint. they are not compatable. Remember how the nextell merger almost killed sprint because they were incompatable networks? yea, now immagine that with 2 major carriers.

    Sprint is a high debt company. They are not healthy. Yes, they are finally turning around, but it will be years before they are in good standing. Tmobile isnt a high debt company but it also isnt a rich company like VZW. Buying all that debt would probably sink both companies at the same time. Just because you merge the subscribers together into one big group, doesnt mean ur making more money.

    If they both move to LTE, then i could see a merger eventually.. but not until they have an LTE buildout. The only sane option would be to shut down one network entirely.. which would probably be Tmobile since its smaller and force everyone to upgrade to a new phone. Immagine that headache.

    merger = bad idea.

    • Carl

      Thanks, it bother me as well when people talk about Sprint/T-Mobile mergers.

    • mtnman

      I’m with you remixfa, I too don’t ever see T-Mobile and Sprint merging. The two completly different techs are incompatible and one or the other will have to shut down. Not to mention all the millions and millions spent on upgrading the network, only to have it just abandoned don’t make any sense. If their was ever to be a Sprint merger it would be with Verizon not T-Mobile. Verizon has the deep pockets to absorbe Sprint’s debt.

    • Anony Mouse

      I could see shutting down sprint over T-Mobile. T-Mobile has broader and more substantial coverage as rated by JD Powers and many other independent companies. Not to mention that sprints network is like a shoddy makeshift fishing boat trying to run the rapids and keep the chewing gum held patches from coming off in the meantime.

    • currator

      remixfa. what are you talking about. you must not know much of anything. first and most important tmobile is owned about d.t. look them up they are only the 2 or 3 largest telcom company in the world thats right world wide they have close to double the cust as little vzw. ohh and vzw has been racking up mad debit too big time they dont have the coin to deal with sprint they are trying to roll out the lte. and they are spend billions of dollars on lte money they will not get back for many years. not to mention all the subsidizing they do on those phones and ads and the cust who leave them they are trying to figure out how to make money. tmobile is supper super healthy. they make on avg over 4 bill in profit a quarter thats right att is doing bad sprint is like the titanic they are sinking. and vzw is like the hindanburg just waiting to burst into flames. but thats just me

      • remixfa

        Tmobile USA is a SEPERATE company from Deuche Telecom. DT’s money does not come into play with Tmo USA. DT by US LAW is only allowed to own so much of TmoUSA and do so much with it. Its the same thing as Vodaphone is VZW’s parent company, but they are NOT the same company. They DO NOT share bank accounts. TMO USA is a barely floating company. I frikkin work for them.. lol. Before you try to spout how much you know, you really need to actually look it up… TMO USA did not make even 1 billion for the YEAR. VZW made like 10x more than Tmo. ATT also beat them by far. I hate to tell you, but the last US cell company to fall would be VZW. They are by far the lowest debt and highest profit cell company… Hindenburg.. oi.

        here comes that headache…lol

        VZW would never buy sprint for the very same reasons that Tmo would never merge with them. High Debt. Why would VZW merge and take on all that debt when they could simply hope that Sprint fails and pick up the towers, spectrum, and most of the customers, for pennies on the dollar.

    • I’m going to have to call you out on “GSM for tmobile, and CDMA for sprint.”

      First, T-mobile offers GSM, and WCDMA(UMTS) services. Sprint offers cdmaOne, cdma2000, and WiMAX services.

      Second, cdma is merely a channel access method – a way multiple radios use the same channel at once. cdma2000 is a whole network specification, as is cdmaOne. They happen to also define an air interface (this is a channel access method plus the protocol. Kinda like ethernet cable, plus tcp/ip give you internet. cdma is the ethernet cable, tcp/ip is the air interface.). UMTS is a network specification that has multiple allowable air interfaces. One of them is called WCDMA. WCDMA is an air interface that uses the cdma channel access method.

      UMTS is not GSM, and GSM is not UMTS. Sprint is not any more ‘cdma’ than T-mobile and AT&T are. Please get your terms straight.

      • remixfa

        That was a whole lot of tech talk to make urself try to sound like you know what your talking about, but u just talked in a big circle and said absolutely nothing… lol.

        Nitpicking about “terms” doesnt change the initial point that they are incompatable networks, now does it? nope. so what was the point of all that? lol

        Tmobile USA is not worldwide. TMO USA and TMO europe (deutche telecom) are 2 seperate companies. It is the same with vodaphone and VZW. Non american companies are not allowed to have more a certain % of ownership of american companies. They can not be over 49% (or majority partner) if i remember correctly. They dont share bank accounts or anything of that nature. TMO europe gets a cut of TMO USA’s action, but not vice versa.

        TMO has been making so LITTLE money that DT has been threatening to sell its part of TMO for years unless it starts making money.

  • mikeeeee

    FCC opened up a lot of spectrum yesterday.

    all the ducks are lining up.

    t-mo is worldwide.

    the american wireless companies, except for part ownership of verizon are just american animals.

    they make strategic deals like we decide what to put in our bowls at the mongolian grill.

    • J-Hop2o6

      are u talkin about that “Super Wifi” that runs on the old Analog TV spectrum? if so, i hope Tmo gets in on that, and not Clearwire’s spectrum since Clear is 2500MHz.. thats horrible wall penetration.. Tmo needs lower MHz for LTE for better wall penetration.

  • currator

    vibrant. check you facts. wimax 2.0 is going to be in full affect by 2012 ohhh its only a software upgrade for towers wimax 2.0 runs at about 1gbps with real world speeds of 100 mbps. and. not to mention sprint has about 50 mil cust. plus the 33 mil tmobile has. ohh wimax 1.0 works with 2.0. just think a hspa+ / 4g phone would be nice but thats just me

  • TrishD

    Clear sucks in the part of Chicago where I am (IMO FAILS in general), not worth the thought to me.

  • Jake

    Before everyone gets their panties in a ringer about a merger with Sprint, it appears TMO is interested in utilizing some of Clearwire’s spectrum, that doesn’t mean merge with Sprint. Clearwire has extra spectrum and they need cash.

    Clearwire is “open” to a relationship with T-Mobile in some capacity. For Clearwire the obvious hope is raising money possibly by selling off unneeded spectrum to a partner like T-Mobile

  • watbetch

    T-Mobile would be better off avoiding using any 2.5GHz spectrum. It’s terrible for wireless use.

  • Tabasco1TX

    Guys,I have a friends who works for an “un-named” wireless providor,according to him,its just a matter of a software upgrade in the towers themselves for the networks to work together. I think its the Customer Database and Account Management that would be the hardest. I used to work for T-Mobile and a friend is a Manager at Sprint,Ive seen theirs and ours and ours is much easier to use and understand. The database and account management software merger is gonna be the worst.

  • Belcher

    I can’t get HSPA or Clearwire where I live.. bearly can get a solid 3G connection.. this news doesn’t mean jack to me..As far as sprint and Tmo merging, they should do it, their going to have to merge with someone sometime soon or one or both will fail

  • Rilesman

    @Hi, I’m 12 and what is this? I agree with part of your first post and thanks for the spectrum lesson in the second.

    It comes down to spectrum and who owns it. If T-Mobile did buy Sprint, they would either have to keep them in the game or transition to one type of network…but now they could do that in a larger range of frequency.

    It could go like this –

    1) Purchase Sprint.
    a) Become majority stakeholder in Clearwire and therefore a migration path to 4G.
    b) Gradual migrate users to T-Mobile
    c) Sell off duplicate spectrum to other carriers / vendors
    d) provide multiple frequencies for phones therefore increasing coverage
    e) Migrate previous T-Mobile users to Sprint frequencies
    f) Sell off as many Sprint assets to maintain cash flow.

    No matter what…dump the customer support of Sprint and bring in the T-Mobile culture.

  • I’m not sure what this means for the future. I hope it means that better faster stronger network. I hope it means better phones. With the cash of D. T. in the mix and them being a large world wide carrier. This would be a move for long term results. It could be that behind the scenes Andy wants better results from Magenta and this is the way to get it done. For Gtab fans this could mean more cash to get things done more efficiently.

    Stay thirsty my friends….

  • Bryan

    Clearwire has been positioning itself for a T-Mobile partnership for a while. That is why Clearwire has been vocal about their network being able to support / switch LTE. This is the reason, a partnership with T-Mobile (not necessarily a merger) only makes sense if Clearwire converts to LTE. WiMax is a short term proposition since Clearwire (including Sprint as part of Clearwire) is the only company in the U.S. backing WiMax. LTE will become the dominant “4G” network technology in the U.S. simply due to economies of scale, since 3 of the 4 nationwide networks (Verizon, ATT, T-Mobile) are all committed to LTE for long term “4G” networks.

    A partnership between T-Mobile and Clearwire on a nationwide LTE roll out would make a lot of sense to me, faster network roll out than either company could support individually and shared spectrum would be mutually beneficial to both companies.

  • BeerBellyBilly

    Well, if T-Mo were to go into a Clearwire partnership purely for renting spectrun, that might explin why Clearwire is trialing dual-mode WiMax/TD-LTE basestations this fall. This may not be an issue of buy-outs or mergers at all. And Clearwire wouldn’t have to sell any specgtrum. Just deploy LTE on some of it and let T-Mo rent it out.

  • souggie

    You may want to check your sources about Deustche telekoms ownership of Tmobile USA. I just looked it up and they are WHOLLY owned by deustche telekom, and their annual revenue this year was a little over 21 billion….i dont know who you work for, but i doubt its tmobile…AND i made sure i checked multiple sources. If you want me to provide them, let me know and ill be happy to do so….