The catch for Clearwire is whether or not it can survive missing a debt payment. The company is not likely to get more help from Sprint, which has problems of its own. Sprint would likely be happy to see Clearwire restructure, under bankruptcy protection or not. What Sprint can’t afford is for Clearwire’s network to shut down. As many as 8 million Sprint customers would lose service should that happen.
Clearwire needs help and it is turning up the heat on Sprint to provide that help. If Clearwire files for bankruptcy protection, the company’s spectrum licenses go to the bondholders, not to Sprint. That’s something Sprint will likely try to avoid at all reasonable cost. Trouble is, for Sprint, no new costs are reasonable.