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We want spectrum: Verizon said to make a move on Clearwire

CNETAnalysis: Spectrum, that hot carrier commodity, is top of mind for one major U.S. network, so much so that said company reportedly put a good chunk of money where its mouth is recently. The Wall Street Journal , citing people with knowledge of the matter, reported today that Verizon offered as much as $1.5 billion to gobble up spectrum leases from Clearwire. These deals are never cut and dry, but complicating the matter is the fact that Clearwire already agreed to sell itself to Sprint, owner of a 50.8 percent stake in the firm. Yet another wrinkle is part of the fold: Japanese telecom Softbank wants to buy a controlling share in Sprint for $20.1 billion. Dish, meanwhile, just put a $25.5 billion bid up for Sprint , though one that the third-place carrier called “unsolicited.” Head spinner What’s more, Dish itself has an offer out to pick up Clearwire at $3.30 a share, and while Chairman Charles Ergen said Dish hasn’t formally rescinded its offer for Clearwire, it would honor Sprint’s should a deal between the two (Dish and Sprint that is) go through. Head spinning? Ours too. According to the Journal, any lease agreement would give Verizon swaths of spectrum in major U.S. markets. The deal would only give Verizon use of spectrum Clearwire leases, not owns. We shouldn’t see new Verizon service light up anytime soon as a result of a Clearwire deal: The latter is said to be reviewing the carrier’s proposal and will discuss it with “Party J” (Verizon, the WSJ’s sources said) and Sprint. Sprint could put up roadblocks to keep any Verizon deal from going through, but don’t expect that to stop Big Red. The company has been on a tear to pick up spectrum, last year dropping $3.9 billion to nab leases from a number of cable companies.


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