Telecom & Wireless

Sprint, Clearwire Deal Won’t Require Spectrum Sale

Sprint USB device
Source: courtesy of Sprint Corp.
There has never been much question that the value of Clearwire Corp. (NASDAQ: CLWR), either to Sprint Nextel Corp. (NYSE: S), Dish Network Corp. (NASDAQ: DISH), or SoftBank, lay in the wireless carrier’s spectrum assets. It now appears that the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) will allow Sprint to hold onto all that spectrum.

Reuters reported last night the FCC Chairwoman Mignon Clyburn has circulated a draft order to other commission members recommending that the FCC approve the deal without requiring Sprint to divest any of the 133 MHz of wireless spectrum owned by Clearwire. FCC approval is the last hurdle that Sprint must clear in its acquisition of Clearwire and the final hurdle for SoftBank to jump over in its acquisition of a majority stake in Sprint.

One of Clearwire’s minority stockholders, Crest Financial, had called on the FCC to require Sprint to shed some of that spectrum, but unnamed sources cited by Reuters say that is not going to happen.

Once both mergers are completed, SoftBank will control more U.S. wireless spectrum than either AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) or Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ).