A billion dollars? With a “B”? Yes, you read that right.
Sprint Nextel has agreed to pay their broadband provider, Clearwire, more than $1 billion through 2012 for wireless wholesale services. The ongoing dispute between the 2 companies has been closely watched by telecommunications experts and Sprint investors who were worried that an escalating dispute might mean Sprint would purchase Clearwire. The companies entered into arbirtration in November to help end the dispute over how much Sprint should pay Clearwire for the coverage for phones that use both 3G and 4G services.
The terms of the agreement are that Sprint will pay $300 million in 2011 and $550 million in 2012. It also agreed to pre-pay $175 million for its high-speed, 4G telecommunications services it plans to use this year and beyond. In addition, Sprint will pay Clearwire $28 million to settle a pricing dispute.
In addition to the dollar amounts, Sprint also announced that they are expanding the ability for both companies to be able to resell the other’s respective 3G and 4G networks to third parties. Sprint is Clearwire’s largest customer and also owns a majority share of the company.
How will this affect Sprint customers? The agreement should mean that the 4G network continues to grow. The partnership between the two companies has been hugely successful and has been a model for wireless partnerships. TRG will watch the story for you and let you know of any developments.