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The future looks bright as Sprint completes acquisition of Clearwire, and Softbank invests billions in Sprint

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Sprint announced this morning that it successfully completed its acquisition of the remaining 49% of Clearwire that it did not already own, while Softbank committed earlier this week to a $16 billion investment in Sprint over the next two years.

Sprint’s announcement followed a special meeting of shareholders yesterday, at which the transaction with Clearwire was approved. Clearwire is now completely, 100% officially owned by Sprint.

Sprint first announced its intentions to purchase the rest of Clearwire back in December of 2012, and since then Dish tried its hardest to thwart Sprint’s plans. It wasn’t until last month before Dish finally gave up and conceded Clearwire to Sprint – and then it also conceded Sprint to Softbank. Current Clearwire shareholders will receive $5 in cash per share, and the stock is no longer listed for trading on the NASDAQ stock exchange. Clearwire expects all trading to cease after the close of business today.

Sprint now owns a healthy chunk of spectrum that it can use to further deploy LTE across the nation, and once Softbank is in charge of Sprint, it will finally have to cash to do so. Softbank promises to invest $16 billion in Sprint’s network over the next two years, which will more than double Sprint’s current investment in the network. According to Softbank, this investment will allow Sprint’s LTE network to rival Verizon’s size and scope.

The $16 billion investment will be split into annual investments of $8 billion the first two years. Softbank then expects to spend around $6 billion per year with network improvements and maintenance going forward after this.

Perhaps most importantly, Softbank stated that it is aware if a network is bad, then customers will complain and leave. It is approaching Sprint’s network with a full awareness of how it currently stands, along with the difficulties it will take to achieve profitability. However, if anyone is in a position to make this work, it’s Softbank.

Softbank was extremely successful in Japan in building up a national LTE network there, and it has a strong focus on keeping up with trends in mobile technology. In fact, Sprint and Softbank intend to open an R&D center in California as early as this year. According to Softbank president Masayoshi Son, it will “give birth to new technology in Silicon Valley, the center of Internet technology.”

It’s not secret that I have been disappointed in Sprint’s progress over the past couple of years, although all that is happening in the way of mergers, acquisitions, and cash infusions are certainly encouraging. If everything pans out the way Softbank intends, Verizon and AT&T should both be very concerned.

But still, I’m skeptical. I’ve been burned by Sprint’s broken promises for too long, and so I still find it difficult to believe any new promises – even if Softbank will bring a fresh perspective and some new leadership.

What do you think? Is the future bright for Sprint, or do you still need to see it to believe it?

[Sprint | NASDAQ]
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John F

John was the editor-in-chief at Pocketables. His articles generally focus on all things Google, including Chrome and Android, although his love of new gadgets and technology doesn't stop there. His current arsenal includes the Nexus 6 by Motorola, the 2013 Nexus 7 by ASUS, the Nexus 9 by HTC, the LG G Watch, and the Chromebook Pixel, among others.

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10 thoughts on “The future looks bright as Sprint completes acquisition of Clearwire, and Softbank invests billions in Sprint

  • Avatar of DarrenTheDad

    I’m currently seeing spotty 4G in Milwaukee after nearly 3 years. I’m skeptically optimistic.

    Reply
  • I force my phone to roam in the Denver area, I’m a flight attendant so I’m all over the country, unfortunately my Evo 4g Lte spends most of it’s life around the nation utilizing Verizon’s network. So Yes, I’m extremely optimistic and for some reason my feelings wouldn’t be hurt if Sprint kicks me out for utilizing a better network…

    Reply
  • Good news but I still think it’ll take a LOOONG time to catch up to, say, Verizon’s network. Anything is better than what we have now though so I’m happy.

    Reply
  • My phone is through my company so I don’t really have a choice in the matter, so this is definitely good news. Let’s hope that the follow-through is genuine though.

    In the meantime, do I get my wife a phone on the Verizon network? Or do I go with the slightly less expensive Sprint plan and hope it will improve?

    Reply
  • Seeing is believing. I’ve heard to many promises over the 14 years myself, but I’m still here. Who knows, this may pan out to be huge……..

    Reply
  • I just want LTE before the end of my contract….or else.

    Reply
  • Avatar of Justin Murray

    Meh, no longer with Sprint but it would be nice to see them improve their network. Maybe it’ll help create a little competition with Verizon and AT&T.

    Reply
  • Avatar of Simon Belmont

    It’s nice to see bright spots for Sprint. I just left them for greener pastures, but I wish them success because I had good service with them.

    Hopefully the cash infusion will immediately speed up LTE deployment and enhancement of existing 3G infrastructure. I have a feeling that it will be a little while before that builds up steam though.

    Reply
  • Been with Sprint going on 5 years now. Have 6 phones. Just did a compare with Verizon, and it’s $20 a month cheaper with Verizon (10GB data). We currently use less than 500MB data, largely because Sprint’s network is so slow, so I think 10 GB will be more than adequate. Plus, Verizon’s fees are less than Sprint. I live out West, and I’m sick and tired of having no data at all every time I leave the metro area. Guess where I’m headed Oct 1 when my contract is up?

    Reply
  • Avatar of sprint sucks

    sprint is a fucking joke I’m so sick of it, switching to verizon. I’ve been promised 4g ever since I got a smartphone, still no 4g in my area, they even had the gall to say they have 4g in my area, they just lie right to your face and think you’re stupid and I’m done with it

    Reply

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