US WiMAX operator Clearwire hopes to raise between USD2.5 billion and USD5 billion in a wireless spectrum auction that has attracted the interest of a number telephone and cable companies, Bloomberg reports, citing people with direct knowledge of the sale. Potential buyers of the spectrum are rumoured to include AT&T, Verizon Wireless, T-Mobile USA, Time Warner Cable and Clearwire parent company Sprint Nextel. The bidding process, which is currently in its second phase, is being managed by Deutsche Bank.
Clearwire admitted last month that it was looking to secure additional funds to fuel its expansion, and has entered into discussions with a number of potential investors, including T-Mobile USA. Clearwire needs at least USD2 billion worth of funds in place by Q4 2010 in order to bankroll the next phase of its network construction, which is due to commence early next year. However, if it can raise the top-line figure of USD5 billion, the company would be able to fund the process without the need for any outside investment. Clearwire, which currently operates under its own brand and through wholesale partners in 55 different markets, is rumoured to be selling up to 40MHz of spectrum per market, which equates to only a fraction of its wireless capacity.