Venders; my thought for when push comes to shove; but sprint might have always intended this type of "tell it to the dogs scenario" (swim with sharks)theory x negotiation.
SINCE: venders/carriers will have to manufacture equipment and phones for china mobile, and all other advance TDD LTE systems.
THEN: Vender sales guaranteed by CLWR equipment financing, leverages their existing sunk R&D manufacturing cost and creates huge upside potentials for future sales.
Sprint just gets lucky in spite of shooting themselves in the foot (repeatedly), and if smart will secure their investment asap by funding CLWR upgrade/expansion. Much less cost than building their own (especially with vender equipment financing)
Besides, Sprint gets 50% of CLWR profits and stock appreciation.
Sprint share holders would clean out entire management and board to get CLWR back to original cost, let alone above it, and Sprints stock would soar also...WIN/WIN
There is also the possibility that CLWR pulls off a financing deal similar/ala sprint style with off shore placement, and yes CLWR could give up and go bk (Stanton loses personal investment in CLWR (will probable fight to end to keep from blemishing his reputation/legacy)
This is a standard no one blinks till the last minute negotiations game of chicken, and like with 2 cars head on at 80 miles an hour both are at risk from their actions, deliberate or otherwise.
Negotiations before the last minute are usually just posturing (unless both negotiators are top guns and understand mutual give/take benefits). Most crash and burns result from having only book theory knowledge without having developed the correct negotiator understandings of style, context and intuition/feel/presence. Much can be gained--much can be lost; not simply money--careers and reputations... they each have skin in the game.
You know the MBA saying "90% of success is being in the right place at the right time"... Research studies and standard MBA curriculum Case studies of what it takes for a start up business to succeed show that being in the right business at the time when waves of growth sweep over it can lead to success even though the other typical requirements, ie. good management, strong financial support (beyond the minimums), the best products/services, are not part of the ingredients. The first rules of business are to either be better than average or just be the average muck up and be in the right place at the right time. I'm pretty good at picking the right place and right time, lousy at being able to directly do much about it.
So, what if Clearwire now has a decent management team that can hold down their companies costs while at the same time not doing anything else that blows out future expenses? What if they can just manage to 'hang in there' long enough to get swept up in the broader wave of industry adoption? Sprint is standing around to pick up the pieces if they fail... but what if they do manage to hold on with a good technology team, assisted by Ericsson? What if they just help out suppliers to build what they pretty much know how to design and build that can plug-and-play according to what the rest of the industry has worked on for over a decade? This is being very dismissive of Clearwire's role in pioneering WiMAX mobile. They deserve credit even if the plan was under-funded and they ignored that as they burnt through their money supply. Clearwire did several things right and as options allowed at the time... not all that creative in key areas but it worked to an extent.
There are now fragments of spectrum that, similar to Clearwire's 2.6Ghz are useful compliments but not able to be used on their own to build market momentum. The cable companies have significant unused spectrum and they are among prospective bidders to gain more AWS and other bands that become available. What if among these alternative players a realization grew that they are bricks in the water... dropping to the bottom of lowest cost if they are not riding on the multiple carrier bandwagon? I don't say that lightly or without a lot of study about how MC impacts will develop as part of SDWN 4G-5G.
At least Sprint has gotten their heads in the sunlight and Clearwire, although still seemingly wanting to be an island, is not so narrowly focused. Are these basket cases going to go down in the history books as the failures snatched from the jaws of victory? I honestly don't know.... even though they are aware.