updated 11:45 am EDT, Thu April 7, 2011
Sprint said near LightSquared, Clearwire deals
Credit Suisse analyst Jonathan Chaplin claimed on Thursday that Sprint would have its deal with LightSquared and a new deal with Clearwire could be ready in weeks. He expected the deal, which would let LightSquared lease access to all of Sprint's cell sites for an LTE-based 4G network, would be done within a month. Clearwire's deal would focus on getting new wholesale pricing and would probably follow afterwards.
Chaplin predicted Sprint would have to pay as much as $2.2 billion up front to make the deals, but the carrier would get $500 million immediately from LightSquared to help get plans underway. They may chew a total of $1.2 billion dollars before they began to help Sprint's bottom line in 2013.
LightSquared's deal wouldn't necessarily hint at Sprint's own plans. It has raised the possibility of LTE by 2013 but for now would mostly be using the deal to eventually help its still-struggling fiscal health. Leasing could, however, simplify a hop to LTE by having an existing agreement in place that wouldn't need as drastic a leap to switch away from WiMAX.
Several key LightSuqared deals are already in place or close as it prepares to kickstart its 4G, including ones with Best Buy, Cablevision, and Cricket. [via IBT]