We had no issue with Sprint charging extra for the advanced speeds offered by their 4G WiMAX network, but the problem is that many customers live outside the 4G coverage area and yet they were still stuck with the fee.
That could be changing soon according to a SEC filing made by Clearwire. The document reveals that some 810,000 customers are out there with an EVO 4G or Epic 4G, but they are located outside a 4G area and Sprint has begun to bicker over what they are paying Clearwire per customer.
Clearwire is currently struggling to finance their network build out and recently announced they were cutting 15% of their workforce. Sprint has poured billions into Clearwire and would be in major trouble if they defaulted on their loans, but I have no idea what is going on behind the scenes. Several Sprint execs recently resigned from Clearwire’s board, but Sprint controls 54% of Clearwire.
Whatever happens Sprint still owns the majority of Clearwire, which is badly in need of money. We have reported that T-Mobile was in talks with Clearwire to possibly help fund their network buildout, but I doubt that Sprint wants that to occur (unless they decide to take their losses and run).
At the end of the day, it doesn’t really matter if WiMAX fails or not. Clearwire still owns more wireless spectrum than anyone else and they could switch to LTE in a couple of years. The only problem with that idea is that the first-gen of LTE gear is major expensive and Clearwire can only afford to stick with WiMAX for the near future.
If a bidding war erupts over Clearwire’s spectrum, I’ll put my money with T-Mobile and their parent company Deutsche Telekom.