Right now, Sprint doesn't seem to be in a hurry to complete the Softbank deal either. When it was announced back in October, some analysts were predicting they would try to close by the end of the year. If they really wanted to, they probably could have done it. Sprint seems to be dragging this out. Why wasn't the FCC extension, filed by Sprint on Dec. 27th, given more press? .
What Sprint isn't shy about is the press being given to the Clearwire deal. Hesse says that the enterprise value of Clearwire for Sprint is about $10B, but he's getting it for a valuation of $4B. It's almost like he's baiting other interested parties...sort of a "Look what I got, don't you wish you had it?"
Remember that Softbank now owns approximately 20% of Sprint. If Clearwire is sold to a different buyer for the right price, Sprint stock will skyrocket, and Softbank's investment would also skyrocket.
If Sprint is offered $40B for Clearwire, don't you think they would take it? Sound extreme? What about AT&T's bid for T-mobile?
Currently Sprint is a wholesale customer of Clearwire. If Sprint sold Clearwire to the right customer as a wholesale business, then Sprint would still continue to be a wholesale customer. That wouldn't change.
Hesse says that Sprint is still looking for spectrum, even with the proposed acquisition of Clearwire. That seems strange since that deal will give them more spectrum than any other carrier. Would the FCC allow Sprint to continue buying spectrum, even with Clearwire? It would seem that Sprint may have other plans for it.
Softbank is primarily a Japanese company and in Japan. It's in Softbank's best interest for Clearwire's spectrum to be effectively utilized in the U.S. If Clearwire does well, then Softbank will also do well in Japan because they share the same TD LTE vision. But I'm not convinced that Sprint/Softbank has enough muscle to effectively utilize Clearwire's spectrum. I propose that they are looking for another player to take it over.
Right now Clearwire is being wrapped up into an easily accessible, tidy package with a bow on top. Clearwire and Sprint are consolidating 2.5GHz spectrum licenses, but I'm not convinced that Sprint will be the final owner.
So what would happen to Sprint if they lost CLWR, go after T-M, PCS and Dish? And Son would give up his vision of cornering the US market with high speed TD LTE? Sounds intriguing but that would be the ultimate scheme if it happened. Not sure I am ready to take this yet. Something is fishy however only time will tell.