The National Association of Broadcasters is backing the merger of T-Mobile USA with MetroPCS, arguing that it is indicative of a robust market for wireless spectrum and that carriers are remaking themselves to get the airwaves they need.
Clearwire said its subscriber base declined 8 percent year-over-year to 9.6 million people. The carrier blamed the decline on the fact that Sprint Nextel is no longer selling smartphones that run on Clearwire's WiMAX network.
Dish Network Chairman Charlie Ergen said that his company wants to use its 40 MHz of AWS-4 spectrum to create a wireless network to allow customers to access video content as well as voice and data inside and outside the home. He said that Dish would like to partner with a wireless company to do that, but that if Dish cannot, it will look to sell its airwaves.
Sprint Nextel, in the midst of extricating itself from its legacy iDEN Nextel business, posted a net subscriber loss of 337,000 wireless customers in the fourth quarter. The carrier also reduced its LTE buildout plans for 2013.
For a little more than a year before Sprint Nextel struck a deal with Softbank, it held merger and strategic partnership talks with four companies, according to a regulatory filing. Two of those companies were likely Dish Network and MetroPCS, though Sprint is not disclosing the names of its would-be partners.
MVNO FreedomPop is planning to launch a new product, which it has dubbed an "LTE clip," that will allow Wi-Fi-enabled Apple iPads and Android tablets to get cellular connectivity, according to a Forbes report.
Japanese operator Softbank expects to almost double Sprint Nextel's wireless margins over time and will also likely increase capital expenditures at the carrier this year following the completion of Softbank's $20.1 billion deal to acquire 70 percent of Sprint, according to a financial analyst.
Clearwire said it is still considering Sprint Nextel's $2.97 per share offer to buy the 50 percent of Clearwire that it does not already own--and Clearwire is still considering Dish Network's unsolicited $3.30 per share counterbid for Clearwire. However, Clearwire said its special board committee that is evaluating the deals has not changed its recommendation to accept Sprint's bid.
The Department of Justice asked the FCC to pause its review of Japanese operator Softbank's proposed $20.1 billion acquisition of 70 percent of Sprint Nextel because of ongoing investigations into "national security, law enforcement, and public safety issues." The request is described as routine and is in response to a foreign company (Softbank, which is based in Japan) seeking ownership of a U.S. telecommunications provider.
Verizon Wireless pushed the FCC to apply its spectrum screen to Clearwire's trove of 2.5 GHz spectrum while the agency reviews Sprint Nextel's proposed purchase of Clearwire. If the FCC does apply the screen to the deal, the agency could limit how much spectrum Sprint could ultimately acquire through its purchase of Clearwire.