Clearwire raises $715.5m to fund LTE plans

US WiMAX standard-bearer Clearwire has announced that it has raised $715.5m from its shareholders to fund its deployment of 4G LTE technology.

The firm said it will use the funds for operations and maintenance as well as new network construction. It is currently in the process of adding “LTE Advanced-ready” technology to its 4G network. It has recently completed technical trials using the technology, claiming to have achieved download speeds exceeding 120 Mbps.

The company raised $384.1m from the sale of common shares and mobile operator Sprint, a majority shareholder in the firm, has exercised its preemptive rights to purchase Class B shares, which will provide Clearwire with an additional $331.4m and maintain Sprint’s majority share.

“This equity raise is a critical step for Clearwire to achieve its long-term business plan of creating the first wide-channel TDD-LTE 4G network in the US,” said Erik Prusch, president and CEO of Clearwire.

“The added resources will enable us to continue delivering 4G mobile broadband service to meet the rapidly growing demand in the industry. We remain ideally and uniquely positioned to serve both wholesale and retail customers well into the future.”

The company had been struggling in its attempts to supply ‘4G’ services based on WiMAX, as LTE became established as the global standard. However, it announced a new 4G LTE and WiMAX agreement with Sprint earlier this month worth up to $1.6bn over the next four years,

Towards the end of last year the firm began looking to sell off its spectrum—considered the firm’s greatest asset in light of its technological isolation—in a bid to raise funding. However, this summer, it announced that it had postponed those plans  with CFO Hope Cochrane saying that: “With the near-term capital needs of our current business now satisfied, we will be extremely judicious with our spectrum assets.” The latest funds raised suggest that it will no longer be forced to sell that spectrum.

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