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Preserving Unlimited Data; Sprint Buying Clearwire

December 14, 2012 - Written By Alexander Maxham

At this time, in the US there are only two major carriers that offer truly unlimited data. That is T-Mobile (who just brought back in September) and Sprint. And in its current state, Sprint needs to keep unlimited data to stay alive. It’s a well known fact that Sprint’s network right now is pretty crappy. I’m a former Sprint customer and no matter where I was in the metro Detroit area, I couldn’t get more than 500kbps download on their 3G network. That’s some pretty slow speeds. It’s like you’re always throttled by Sprint. Now they are rolling out LTE, but it’s only available in a handful of markets right now. A couple of months ago Softbank acquired 70% of Sprint, and while that deal is still going through, Sprint now has some spending money to help improve their network a bit quicker.

Since the deal with Softbank was announced, Sprint has gone on and picked up some more spectrum in the midwest region (around Chicago) from US Cellular. And now they are in talks with Clearwire to buy the rest of the company. They already currently own 51% of Clearwire, which is the service which provides Sprint’s WiMax service. I’m sorry I just can’t call that speed 4G. If Sprint can complete this deal with Clearwire they would gain a huge amount of spectrum that is comparable to the frequencies held by the two major US carriers in those cities. So it’ll be a huge win for Sprint at this point.

So how would consumers benefit from this acquisition? Well Softbank and Clearwire deals basically ensure that those unlimited plans will stick around even longer. “Given the additional spectrum, as well as the cash infusion, I think they’re likely to keep the unlimited model for a longer duration,” Sharma said regarding the acquisition. So hopefully this stays true. Because if Sprint turns greedy like AT&T and Verizon and axe their unlimited data plans, I guarantee you they will lose a ton of customers. Right now many are sticking with them hoping the network gets better and to keep unlimited data. I was one of those people…until the Nexus 4 came out.

It’s great to see that Sprint is keeping unlimited data, but they need to fix their network as well. That needs to the be their number one priority. What do you think of all of this? Is it a wise decision for Sprint to buy the rest of Clearwire? Let us know in the comments below.