NetZero reinvents itself as America’s first free 4G service provider

By on March 19, 2012 at 7:30 AM.

NetZero reinvents itself as America’s first free 4G service provider

NetZero burst onto the scene in 1998 as the first in a crop of Internet service providers that gave subscribers free access to the Web using an advertising-supported model. NetZero’s patented ad technology displayed highly targeted ads to users as they browsed the Internet at dial-up speeds, but it was forced into a freemium model when a number of other ISPs began offering free Web access as well. NetZero continues to offer basic paid dial-up and broadband services, but now the company is going back to its roots in an effort to disrupt the wireless industry as it did to the dial-up industry nearly 14 years ago. More →

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Sprint seeks an additional $2 billion from investors

By on February 27, 2012 at 2:50 PM.

Sprint seeks an additional $2 billion from investors

Sprint on Monday announced that the carrier is issuing another round of notes due in 2017 and 2020 in an attempt to generate approximately $2 billion in capital. The investment would allow Sprint to fund general operations, build out its LTE network and possibly help fund the Clearwire as it continues to struggle. “The company intends to use the net proceeds from the offering of the Notes for general corporate purposes, which may include, among other things, redemptions or service requirements of outstanding debt, network expansion and modernization and potential funding of Clearwire Corporation and its subsidiary Clearwire Communications LLC,” Sprint said. Read on for Sprint’s press release. More →

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Google to sell stake in Clearwire at a huge loss

By on February 24, 2012 at 6:50 PM.

Google to sell stake in Clearwire at a huge loss

Google on Friday filed documents with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission to sell its entire stake in Clearwire. The Mountain View-based company spent $500 million in 2008  to acquire a 6.5% stake in Clearwire, and now the search giant is now looking to sell its share for $47 million, less than a tenth of the original investment. Clearwire was the first company to roll out a 4G network in the U.S., however the WiMAX technology the network was built around failed to gain widespread adoption, with every major carrier instead deploying or looking to deploy 4G LTE service. Even Clearwire’s largest shareholder, Sprint, announced plans to launch a 4G LTE network in mid-2012. According to the SEC filing, Google will exit Clearwire in an effort to rebalance its investment portfolio. The sale is expected to close by the end of March. More →

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Sprint reveals initial 4G LTE markets; rollout begins in coming months

By on January 5, 2012 at 5:00 PM.

Sprint reveals initial 4G LTE markets; rollout begins in coming months

Sprint on Thursday announced the first markets that will be upgraded with 4G LTE service this year. The company’s LTE network will launch in the first half of this year in Atlanta, Dallas, Houston and San Antonio, CEO Dan Hesse revealed during a talk at the Citigroup Entertainment, Media and Telecommunications Conference. Hesse also said that Sprint would be upgrading its 3G coverage in those markets at the same time. Sprint was the first carrier in the United States to deploy a 4G network, but it opted to use WiMAX technology rather than LTE. In the fall of 2011, however, Sprint announced that the company would convert to a single-network architecture, moving away from CDMA and WiMAX as it rolls out its LTE network. Rather than abandoning the company’s old technology, Sprint inked a deal with Clearwire to continue supporting WiMAX through 2015. Sprint’s full press release follows below. More →

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Clearwire raises another $734 million in funding from Sprint and public offering

By on December 14, 2011 at 9:25 PM.

Clearwire raises another $734 million in funding from Sprint and public offering

Clearwire announced recently that it has garnered another $734 million in funding after closing its public offering of Class A common stock at $2.00 per share. The public offering earned Clearwire $384.1 million after commissions, and it pulled in an additional $331.4 million selling Class B shares to Sprint. “This equity raise is a critical step for Clearwire to achieve its long-term business plan of creating the first wide-channel TDD-LTE 4G network in the U.S.,” president and CEO of Clearwire Erik Prusch said. “The added resources will enable us to continue delivering 4G mobile broadband service to meet the rapidly growing demand in the industry. We remain ideally and uniquely positioned to serve both wholesale and retail customers well into the future.” Read on for more. More →

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Sprint and Clearwire ink new 4G WiMAX and LTE agreement

By on December 1, 2011 at 11:05 PM.

Sprint and Clearwire ink new 4G WiMAX and LTE agreement

Sprint and Clearwire on Thursday announced a new 4G LTE and WiMAX agreement that will extend over the next few years. The agreement could be worth up to $1.6 billion over the next four years for Clearwire, which it will earn selling its services to Sprint. “These agreements are a result of the technical MOU we outlined during our third quarter results call and extend our relationship with Clearwire,” Sprint CEO Dan Hesse said. “It provides Sprint improved pricing, allows us to continue to provide WiMAX 4G services to our customers today and to new customers in the future and provides additional LTE capacity to help complement our Network Vision strategy and meet our customers’ growing data demands.” Read on for more. More →

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Sprint to help finance Clearwire’s 4G LTE network

By on November 4, 2011 at 11:15 AM.

Sprint to help finance Clearwire’s 4G LTE network

Sprint announced on Friday that it will offer new notes due in 2018 and 2021, the proceeds of which may be used in part to finance Clearwire’s build-out of a 4G LTE network. “The company intends to use the net proceeds from the offering of the Notes for general corporate purposes, which may include, among other things, redemptions or service requirements of outstanding debt, network expansion and modernization and potential funding of Clearwire Corporation, and its subsidiary, Clearwire Communications LLC,” Sprint said in a press release. The news follows Sprint’s analyst day on October 7th, where executives from the nation’s No. 3 carrier distanced themselves from Clearwire despite owning a controlling stake in the company, and announced plans to spend $10 billion building out their own 4G LTE network. It is unclear how today’s news will impact those plans. Clearwire announced in August that it hoped to adopt LTE technology across its network, but it also said it would need outside funding in order to do so. Sprint’s full press release follows below. More →

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Sprint, Cleawire near deal for 3-5 year network-sharing agreement, report claims

By on October 28, 2011 at 10:30 PM.

Sprint, Cleawire near deal for 3-5 year network-sharing agreement, report claims

Sprint and Clearwire are close to inking a deal that will extend an existing network-sharing agreement an additional 3-5 years, Bloomberg Businessweek said Friday. The current agreement will terminate at the end of 2012. Allegedly, the deal is not final and could still fall through. If it is finalized, Sprint is poised to pay less for access to Clearwire’s network than it currently does. Clearwire has been seeking additional funding to help it build out a 4G LTE network, which is expected to cost $600 million, but Sprint will not provide any of the financing. “This would likely help [Clearwire] get funding, because it would provide increased visibility into revenue-getting opportunities and reduce the risk profile,” Mizuho Securities analyst Michael Nelson told Bloomberg. Clearwire most recently began courting AT&T and Verizon Wireless in a bid to raise cash for its new network. More →

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After $15.5 billion splurge on iPhone, Sprint may need $7 billion in new financing

By on October 27, 2011 at 7:30 PM.

After $15.5 billion splurge on iPhone, Sprint may need $7 billion in new financing

In addition to the costs needed to upgrade its network to LTE by next year, Sprint said earlier this week that it is paying Apple $15.5 billion during the next four years for the iPhone. That huge cost means the carrier may need an additional $7 billion in financing to help boost liquidity, Reuters said on Thursday. Reportedly, Sprint is seeking $3 billion of the additional funds from vendor deals and an additional $4 billion in refinanced debt. “[The] iPhone has an expensive contract, but it is worth every penny,” Sprint CEO Dan Hesse said on a recent conference call in reference to the money it pays Apple on each iPhone phone. Sprint pays Apple a subsidy fee that is 40% larger than any other handset it sells, but the carrier also said the iPhone has been the fastest-selling handset it has ever launched. On Wednesday, Sprint said it was negotiating a new network sharing deal with Clearwire that would extend beyond 2012. Several analysts think Sprint may be trying to juggle too much at once, however. “They’re betting the house on two things at the same time,” Mizuho analyst Michael Nelson told Reuters. “If they pull it off, great. If they don’t, their financial performance would get materially worse, and they could have significant liquidity risks.” More →

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Sprint, Clearwire negotiating network-sharing contract beyond 2012

By on October 26, 2011 at 3:35 PM.

Sprint, Clearwire negotiating network-sharing contract beyond 2012

Sprint and Clearwire are negotiating a network-sharing contract that will last beyond 2012, Bloomberg recently reported, noting a 29% surge in Clearwire’s stock price earlier Wednesday. CEO Dan Hesse explained on a conference call that Sprint could take advantage of Clearwire’s network in an effort to balance traffic on its planned 4G LTE network. While Sprint is “making very good progress on the technical front with Clearwire,” a deal is not yet final or definite. Sprint announced earlier this month that it plans to accelerate its 4G LTE roll-out and will launch its first markets by the middle of next year. The project is expected to be fully completed in 2013. Sprint’s move to LTE had originally suggested that its WiMAX relationship with Clearwire was coming to an end, but it appears that is no longer the case. Like Sprint, Clearwire has also said it will deploy a 4G LTE network if it can find the money. Most recently the carrier was courting AT&T and Verizon in an effort to bring in enough cash for the roll-out, which it expects to cost $600 million. More →

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Clearwire courting AT&T and Verizon in bid to raise cash for 4G LTE network

By on September 23, 2011 at 7:30 PM.

Clearwire courting AT&T and Verizon in bid to raise cash for 4G LTE network

Clearwire is in discussions to sell sell some of its wireless network capacity to Verizon Wireless and AT&T, Bloomberg reported recently. “All those discussions are under way,” Clearwire CEO Erik Prusch told Bloomberg. “I’m confident we’ll bring in new wholesale partners. Our message to the industry is that we’ve got the capacity to handle their needs.” However, it is more likely Clearwire is approaching the carriers in an effort to raise cash for its 4G LTE network plans. On August 3rd, Clearwire announced its intentions to build out a nationwide 4G LTE network but said those plans were “subject to additional funding.” Clearwire needs $600 billion to build its 4G LTE network. “We want to be the Switzerland of mobile broadband,” Prusch said, noting that his company is talking to, and willing to work with, anyone who needs network capacity.” In mid-August reports surfaced that Sprint was in talks to buy Clearwire outright in order to build its own LTE network. We expect we could hear more on Sprint and its Clearwire plans during a “Strategy Update” event on October 7th in New York City, where BGR will be reporting live. More →

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Sprint in talks to buy Clearwire for 4G LTE roll-out

By on August 19, 2011 at 3:45 PM.

Sprint in talks to buy Clearwire for 4G LTE roll-out

Sprint is in talks to purchase Clearwire outright, Bloomberg reported on Friday. The carrier has been speaking to a number of firms including Comcast about the possible acquisition, which would help Sprint build out a 4G LTE network capable of going head-to-head with competing networks from Verizon Wireless and AT&T. Cox Communications has also been involved in the discussions, Bloomberg said. Sprint could take one of two paths: it could invest more in Clearwire, although it already owns a controlling 54% stake in the company, or it could acquire it fully. Clearwire has said that it needs roughly $600 million to roll out LTE alongside its current 4G WiMAX network. In late July, however, Sprint inked a deal with network wholesaler LightSquared, in which LightSquared agreed to pay Sprint $9 billion and give the firm several billion more in service credits over 15 years for the right to use Sprint’s infrastructure to build out its own 4G LTE network. Bloomberg said Sprint’s talks with Clearwire are still in early stages and a deal is not imminent. More →

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BTIG upgrades Sprint rating based on valuation, potential iPhone 5 launch

By on August 9, 2011 at 10:15 AM.

BTIG upgrades Sprint rating based on valuation, potential iPhone 5 launch

In a note to investors on Tuesday, BTIG Research analyst Walter Piecyk raised his rating on Sprint stock from Sell to Neutral without indicating a new price target. Piecyk had previously set his price target at $3.13, but noted that the stock now trades under five times BTIG’s 2012 earnings estimate, which is below consensus. The firm notes that it is not moving to a Buy rating because Sprint’s stock may fall further still, due to uncertain earnings, high debt leverage, lack of free cash flow and a worrisome 4G strategy. Piecyk believes that Sprint “needs to develop a clear 4G strategy including financing or taking control of Clearwire.” While BTIG did revise its estimates downward based on lower potential margins due to increased roaming costs, increased Network Vision expenses and the potential need for increased handset subsidies, it notes that upcoming events such as the resolution of Sprint’s Clearwire relationship and the potential launch of Apple’s iPhone 5 could have a positive impact on Sprint’s performance.

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