Deutsche-Telekom, Sprint, Verizon Wireless and others are among the interested bidders in Clearwire's massive wireless spectrum holdings.
Clearwire, operator of the WiMax 4G high-speed data
network used by Sprint Nextel, is selling a portion of its massive spectrum
holdings in an effort to raise money to continue the build-out of its 4G
network currently used by Sprint and others.
The Clearwire auction is attracting T-Mobile USA parent
Deutsche Telekom as well as AT&T, Sprint, Verizon Wireless, and cable
operators Time Warner and Cablevision, according to a story in
quoting unidentified sources.
Clearwire has had discussions already regarding
an equity investment with T-Mobile
and is trying to raise the necessary
funds to build out its network without that investment. Analyst estimates are
that Clearwire needs at least $2 billion for the fourth-quarter build-out of
Currently, spokespeople for the networks said to be
interested in the Clearwire spectrum are either declining comment or are not
available. The Bloomberg News story said that the bidding for the spectrum is
in its second round and is being managed by Deutsche Bank AG.
Clearwire is a joint venture, with Sprint Nextel as the
majority owner. However, there has been significant dissention on the Clearwire
board, with the result being that three senior executives from Sprint
Nextel resigned from Clearwire's board
Speculation at the time was that the board resignations
were the first move to open a way to investment by Deutsche Telekom. Reports
this weekend from sources close to the Clearwire situation indicate that
Clearwire's board has been in meetings over the weekend about this
The spectrum auction appears to be a final attempt to
raise the money Clearwire needs to build out its network before taking T-Mobile's
offer of an equity investment. T-Mobile is interested in Clearwire's LTE
efforts, currently undergoing tests. Much of the dissention on the Clearwire
board is said to be regarding the potential for Deutsche Telekom to have a
significant interest in Clearwire along with Sprint.