A report out of Reuters today confirms that T-Mobile is in talks with Clearwire to become a strategic partner that would allow them to rent wireless network space at a special wholesale rate and help fund Clearwire’s network buildout.
Clearwire runs the WiMAX network that powers Sprint 4G, but they will begin testing several LTE technologies this fall. T-Mobile is currently building out their HSPA+ network and plans to hit speeds of 42 Mbps next year, but they are hurting when it comes to the wireless spectrum needed for a true 4G network. Clearwire just happens to own more spectrum than anyone else right now and recently boasted they could deliver real-world download speeds that were faster than any carrier’s future 4G network.
Sprint holds a 54 percent in Clearwire and has discussed a buyout to gain complete control of the company and their network operations, but CFO Bob Brust said it was too expensive right now. Rumors and speculation have been growing that Sprint and T-Mobile will eventually merge, so if both carriers end up using Clearwire to power their 4G networks then it could make more sense.
What do you think about a possible merger of Sprint and T-Mobile? If the two companies joined forces in the coming years, do you think they could compete (or overtake) AT&T and Verizon?