Sprint is reportedly looking to cable providers for an investment that would help Clearwire build an LTE-based wireless network. The struggling WiMAX company has suffered substantial losses this year and it is unlikely they could erect the planned network without financial backing.
Sprint, the third largest wireless carrier in the US, owns a majority share in Clearwire and could be looking at a few different options as they move forward, Bloomberg reports.
If Sprint can gather enough support from cable companies, those funds could go directly towards the LTE network rollout and nothing would change as far as ownership. But what's in it for the cable providers?
In addition to Sprint ownership, Comcast, Time Warner Cable and Bright House Networks all lay claim to shares of Clearwire, meaning an initial investment in a speedy wireless infrastructure could pay dividends in the long run. It wouldn't be surprising to see cable providers offering wireless service alongside television and Internet packages should this deal pan out.
Another option could see Sprint buy the remaining shares of Clearwire outright and funding the project themselves. This would give them substantial leverage against rival AT&T, especially in light of the planned acquisition of T-Mobile USA. We have no idea how much this would cost, but it wouldn't be cheap to buy the remaining shares of the company and fund the network alone.
Clearwire needs about $600 million to complete their LTE network. Talks are still in early stages and a deal is not imminent.