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Clearwire calls for funds for LTE buildout
14 February 2013
Clearwire says it needs Sprint’s funding to convert from WiMax as Dish threatens to withdraw its bid
Loss-making US WiMax company Clearwire has said it needs funds
by the end of 2013 if it is to survive.
The company is subject to two rival bids, including one from
majority shareholder Sprint, which is helping fund its
conversion from WiMax to LTE — but rival bidder,
satellite TV company Dish, says its higher bid will be
withdrawn if Clearwire accepts any money from Sprint.
Clearwire is losing subscribers for its WiMax service at the
rate of 8% a year, mainly because wholesale customer Sprint has
stopped selling WiMax services as it converts to LTE.
Clearwire president and CEO Erik Prusch put a positive spin on
the results: "Our full year 2012 results demonstrate our
continued focus on reducing costs, managing revenues and
liquidity, and providing exceptional service to our customers
during a transition period as we build an LTE network equipped
to provide wireless consumers the speeds and capacity they
desire," he said.
But the company admitted that it had only 9.6 million customers
at the end of 2012 — in a service area that covers 135
million people — and that this was down on the total
for the end of 2011.
The issue is complicated by the fact that Japanese operator
SoftBank has an agreed bid to take control of Sprint. Sprint
has bid $2.97 a share for the 49% of Clearwire it does not own.
Dish has bid $3.30 a share. All bids will need regulatory
agreement before they can be completed.
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